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Date posted: 9/11/2013

Following a series of reports linking popular diabetes drugs like Byetta to pancreatic cancer or thyroid cancer, an increasing number of patients who were diagnosed with the diseases have filed lawsuits.

Now, a recent federal panel order shows the courts are giving these cases ample weight, as they have been consolidated to a special federal multidistrict litigation court.

Byetta is an injectable diabetes medication sold by Bristol Myers-Squibb, which inhibits certain enzymes to lower blood sugar levels and limit sugar absorption in those with type-2 diabetes. However, it may also limit the body’s natural ability to fight cancer.

The FDA first warned that diabetes drugs like Byetta, Januvia and Janumet may increase the likelihood of pancreatic cancer. Then, in 2011, researchers at UCLA discovered test subjects given Byetta were also more likely to suffer pancreatic cancer or thyroid cancer.  

The American Medical Association followed up this year with a report that drugs like Byetta could double patients’ risk of developing pancreatitis, which is a major risk factor for pancreatic cancer.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices also recently published a study suggesting Byetta may be one of the most dangerous of all diabetes meds. In their review of FDA reports, they discovered a majority of the 1,069 cases of pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer or hypersensitivity reported to the FDA in 2012 for diabetes drugs were linked to Byetta.

Unfortunately, the FDA has decided not to issue any Byetta recall or even a new warning label requirement until more evidence is available. However, those affected can seek financial compensation from the drug maker.

With more patients filing a Byetta lawsuit, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation last month ruled that a special MDL court would be set up in California to handle Byetta, Januvia, Janumet and other diabetes cancer cases.

Although similar to a Byetta class action lawsuit, MDL courts allow cases to be kept separate and victims to choose their own lawyer. They have been used in the past for extremely large product litigation like Yaz and Vioxx side effects and the BP Oil Spill.

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer or thyroid cancer after using Byetta, it is important to speak with a lawyer about your legal options as soon as possible. However, DrugRisk only recommends lawyers who have already handled these complex Byetta lawsuits.

For more information on the research, side effects and litigation news related to Byetta, or to speak with a lawyer, contact us today.