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Date posted: 8/20/2013

While health experts continue to debate whether GLP-1 class diabetes medications like Januvia, Janumet and Byetta carry higher risks for pancreatic and thyroid cancer, a growing number of those injured are taking their cases to the courts.

At issue is whether Merck, who earned over $5 billion just last year selling Januvia and Janumet, met their duty to inform patients that the risks for cancer may be higher with their medications.

Lawyers representing nearly 100 patients and growing say that, not only did these drug makers not warn patients of the full dangers, they failed to properly test their products and have withheld raw data that could be used to protect future patients and save lives.

Questions about the safety of diabetes medications have persisted for years.

In 2009, the FDA first warned that drugs like Januvia and Byetta may cause higher rates of pancreatitis. In 2011, a study at UCLA found that subjects given the GLP-1 diabetes meds also had sharply higher cancer rates, specifically pancreatic cancer and thyroid cancer.

This year, the American Medical Association revealed that data confirmed Januvia and similar drugs could double the risk for pancreatitis, long known to be a leading risk factor for pancreatic cancer. The American Diabetes Association and British Medical Journal have called for new tests of the drug, but the BMJ noted manufacturers were not willing to disclose their raw data.

This summer, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices published the results of a review of FDA data, which showed drugs like Januvia, Janumet and Byetta were associated with greater occurrences of pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and thyroid cancer.

Despite all this, the FDA and European Medicines Agency claim there isn’t sufficient proof to show a higher risk of pancreatic cancer from these drugs.

Now, due to the rising number of patients who have filed a Januvia lawsuit against Merck after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is deciding whether to consolidate cases from around the country into a special multidistrict court for expedited handling.

In the past, such legal avenues have been used for victims with side effects from Yaz, Actos and Vioxx.

Lawyers are still helping those affected learn their legal rights and file claims. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer or thyroid cancer after taking Januvia or Janumet, talk with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Due to the complexity of these cases, DrugRisk only recommends lawyers who have already handled Januvia lawsuits.

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