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Byetta Cancer Lawsuit Claims Wrongful Death

A man has filed a lawsuit against Amylin Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of type 2 diabetes drug Byetta, alleging the drug caused the death of his wife from pancreatic cancer. It is the latest Byetta cancer lawsuit to claim the company failed to warn the public of the potential pancreatic cancer risk posed by Byetta. More than fifty lawsuits concerning a range of diabetes drugs – including Januvia & Byetta – have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL). This lawsuit was filed on August 7, 2013 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.

The plaintiff, a resident of Dripping Springs, Texas, states that his wife had been taking Byetta for more than two and a half years. According to the Byetta cancer lawsuit, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August 2011, a condition that ultimately led to her death. She had been prescribed the drug as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, and was unaware of any Byetta pancreatic cancer risk.

There are an estimated 350 million type 2 diabetics around the world. As the epidemic has grown, drug makers have developed new methods of dealing with it. Byetta, which was approved by the FDA in 2005, belongs to a new class of drug known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. There has been increasing concern among the medical community surrounding this new class of drugs, and their link to pancreatic cancer. Amylin maintain that the association between Byetta and pancreatic cancer is down to the increased risk of pancreatitis in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes doctors urge caution over GLP-1 drugs

In a 2010 article written by a group of physicians, the public and medical community were advised to exercise caution when using GLP-1 drugs like Byetta. Published in the journal Diabetes Care, the article is quoted in the Byetta lawsuit and others involved in the MDL. Titled GLP-1-Based Therapy for Diabetes: What You Do Not Know Can Hurt You, the article states:

“History has taught us that enthusiasm for new classes of drug, heavily promoted by the pharmaceutical companies that market them, can obscure the caution that should be exercised when the long-term consequences are unknown… We feel that enough preliminary evidence has accumulated to suggest that there is a plausible risk that long-term recipients of [GLP-1 drugs] may develop pancreatic cancer.”

Amylin “should have known” about Byetta pancreatic cancer risk

Last month, Amylin and other GLP-1 manufacturers agreed to the consolidation of more than fifty lawsuits. The decision to put products from several manufacturers on trial in one MDL was attributed to the large number of plaintiffs who have taken diabetes drugs made by more than one company.

The plaintiff’s Byetta cancer lawsuit alleges that the companies behind the drugs knew or should have known about the increased risk of pancreatic cancer, and that they failed to warn physicians or patients. The MDL was established by the United States Judicial Panel in order to streamline pre-trial processes, and avoid inconsistent rulings and duplicative discovery. The MDL will be overseen by Judge Anthony J. Battaglia, who is already presiding over a number of lawsuits filed against Amylin and others.