In the federal court system, a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) has been established to centralize Byetta, Januvia, Janumet and Victoza pancreatic cancer lawsuits filed in U.S. District Courts by the users of these diabetic drugs.
There are currently at least 262 cases consolidated as part of an MDL, before U.S. District Judge Battaglia in the Southern District of California. Next discovery and pretrial proceedings will proceed, and bellwether trials will be scheduled, probably some time in 2015.
Plaintiffs Allege Failure to Warn
The lawsuits allege that the manufacturers of Byetta, Januvia, Janumet and Victoza failed to provide adequate warnings for users and the doctors about the risk of pancreatic cancer from these diabetes drugs, which are known as incretin mimetics.
California Coordinated State Action
Several pancreatic cancer cases have been filed in California state court, where a Judicial Council Coordinated Proceeding (JCCP) has been established before Judge Highberger in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Court Science Day
A “Science Day” has been scheduled in early February in the federal MDL, where the parties will present information to the court about the background of the incretin mimetic diabetes drugs and the potential risk of pancreatic cancer.
What are Incretin Mimetics?
Byetta, Januvia, Janumet and Victoza are all part of the incretin mimetic class of diabetes drugs, which work by copying the incretin hormones action on the body. The body produces these hormones to stimulate the release of insulin in response to a meal.
A number of studies have noted that the medications increase the risk of pancreatitis, which is a known risk factor for pancreatic cancer development.
Incretin Mimetic Thyroid Cancer Risk
There are at least 35 Byetta Thyroid Cancer cases pending in the Southern District of California. These lawsuits are not currently part of the MDL, but counsel indicated that they are considering filing a motion with the U.S. JPML to expand the scope of the MDL to include these cases.
A number of similar cases have also filed against AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb, involving plaintiffs diagnosed with pancreatic cancer from Onglyzer, another incretin mimetic drug that is not currently joined with the MDL.