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Date posted: 8/13/2013

Despite a recent FDA advisory that there was insufficient evidence to require a label change to the popular diabetes drug Byetta over cancer fears, many victims are moving forward with lawsuits against the manufacturer, Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The legal action comes after several health organizations have raised questions over a link between diabetes drugs like Byetta and pancreatic cancer or thyroid cancer.

So far, enough people have filed a Byetta lawsuit against BMS over pancreatic cancer or thyroid cancer that a federal panel held a hearing on July 25th to decide whether cases should be consolidated to one special central court.

DrugRisk spoke with a clerk for the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on August 12th and was informed that the judges were still weighing the question of consolidation.

While many people expected the formation of a Byetta class action lawsuit, cases where a defective drug or product are blamed for a large number of injuries or death are typically handled through a multidistrict litigation court.

In an MDL, victims maintain control over their individual lawsuit and can select their own legal counsel, while the combining of cases in one venue adds the influence they would also get from a class action.

Byetta ranks among the most popular medications for those with type-2 diabetes to control blood sugar levels. However, its inhibition of a key enzyme may also impede the body’s natural defenses against cancer cells.

Experts have raised concerns over a possible Byetta cancer link for years. In 2011, researchers at UCLA discovered subjects given Byetta had increased risks of both pancreatic cancer and thyroid cancer.

This spring, the American Medical Association released a study indicating patients taking diabetes drugs like Byetta could have double the risk of pancreatitis, a major risk factor of pancreatic cancer.

Last month, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices was the latest to warn of a cancer link. Their study revealed that, of 1,069 diabetes drug pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer or hypersensitivity side effects reported to the FDA in 2012, 612 were tied to Byetta.

Sadly, the FDA will not warn consumers about these drugs without more research, They recently joined the EMA to say not enough data was available to issue a warning or require a label change.

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. However, DrugRisk only recommends lawyers who have already handled Byetta lawsuits.

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