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New Januvia Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed

Plaintiff Beverly Lauria has filed a claim against Merck & Co. Inc. et al, following the untimely death of her father, Joseph Lauria. The Januvia wrongful death lawsuit was filed on August 30th in the Southern District of California. Judge Janis L. Sammartino will preside over the case.

During the approximate time period of March 2007 to September 2010, Joseph Lauria’s physician prescribed him Januvia, Byetta, and Janumet for long-term maintenance of Type 2 diabetes. The patient used all three drugs during different time periods of this span.

Januvia wrongful death lawsuit details

The decedent was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2010 and died from the disease on September 24, 2012. The claim alleges that if the patient or his physician had been properly warned of the Januvia and Byetta cancer risk, he would not have been prescribed or ingested these medications.

The plaintiff is suing the defendant on eleven counts including:

  • Strict Product Liability — Failure to Warn
  • Negligence
  • Breach of Implied Warranty
  • Breach of Express Warranty
  • Deceit by Concealment
  • Negligent Misrepresentation
  • Fraud by Concealment
  • Violation of California Business & Professions Code § 17200
  • Violation of California Business & Professions Code § 17500
  • Violation of California Business & Professions Code § 1750
  • Wrongful Death

The plaintiff seeks damages in this lawsuit including legal fees, loss of income, medical monitoring, exemplary and punitive damages, pain and suffering, and further relief deemed appropriate by the court.

Incretin mimetics cancer risk

Januvia and Byetta and other incretin mimetics drugs work to mimic the incretin hormones in Type 2 diabetes patients that are typically produced naturally by the body to stimulate insulin after eating. Along with proper diet and exercise, these drugs are used to lower patient’s blood sugar levels.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) conducted a review of Januvia, Byetta, and other medications used by Type 2 diabetes patients, to see if there was a link connection between the prescriptions and pancreatic cancer. Results of the EMA study failed to confirm the existence of an association between incretin mimetics and pancreatic cancer.

However, other study results have been to the contrary. Results of a diabetes drug study by Johns Hopkins researchers, published in the February 2013 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, the journal of the American Medical Association, suggests a cancer risk does exist. The study found that patients taking Byetta are at an increased risk for developing pancreatic cancer, than those taking other drugs.

Researchers analyzed the medical records of 1,269 patients with diabetes who filled at least one prescription for any kind of diabetes drug during a three year period. They found that 87 of the patients who developed pancreatitis were taking either Byetta or Januvia, while 58 of the patients who developed the condition were taking another type of diabetes drug.

Centralization of Byetta cancer lawsuit actions

More than 50 product liability cases involving adverse Byetta and Januvia side effects are currently pending against the manufacturers of Januvia, Byetta, Janumet, and Victoza under MDL 2452 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The MDL was established in August 2013 and federal Judge Anthony Battaglia is presiding over the cases. Litigation was centralized to elimination duplicate discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and conserve the resources of both parties and the judiciary.