Benicar Lawsuit – Gastrointestinal Injuries

Benicar Lawsuit Settlement Announced

Daiichi Sankyo announced a $300 million settlement in Benicar litigation. Injured patients have until August 23, 2017 to sign a retainer with an attorney in order to participate.

The popular blood pressure medication Benicar has been associated with chronic diarrhea and other serious gastrointestinal side effects, leading to thousands of lawsuits being filed against its manufacturers. About 2,000 Benicar lawsuits have been filed since 2014, and more are expected since the drugmakers announced a $300 million settlement agreement in August 2017.

Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories agreed to pay $300 million in financial compensation to patients who experienced certain complications after using Benicar. In order to qualify, patients had to start taking the drug before May 2015.

If you were injured after taking Benicar but haven’t filed a lawsuit yet, you may still be able to pursue financial compensation. As part of the settlement agreement, unfiled claims must have a signed retainer with an attorney before 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time on August 23, 2017.

The lawyers and attorneys at Schmidt National Law Group are still accepting Benicar cases. Call now to speak with our qualified legal staff and see if you’re eligible for a Benicar lawsuit. Time may be running out to file a Benicar claim.

What is Benicar?

Benicar (olmesartan medoxomil) is a prescription drug used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April 2002.

Benicar belongs to a class of drugs known as angiotensin II inhibitors, or ARBs. These drugs work by blocking the hormone that causes blood vessels to tighten. This keeps blood vessels open and blood pressure down.

While it is normal for blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day, prolonged high blood pressure can cause serious health problems down the road. About 75 million people in the US live with high blood pressure every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If left untreated, high blood pressure increases a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke — two of the leading causes of death in the US.

High blood pressure is called “the silent killer” because it often doesn’t cause symptoms. Many people who suffer from high blood pressure do not even know they have it.

Benicar is used to treat high blood pressure in millions of Americans, but the drug also puts those same people at risk for other serious complications.

Benicar Side Effects & Complications

People taking Benicar are at increased risk for certain side effects, some of which can be serious.

Clinical studies have linked Benicar to the following common side effects:

  • Dizziness
  • Back pain
  • Bronchitis
  • High blood creatinine levels
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • High blood sugar
  • Blood in urine
  • Fat in blood
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sinus infection
  • Allergies

Less common symptoms associated with Benicar include:

  • Chest pain
  • Swelling
  • Vertigo
  • Abdominal pain
  • Stomach flu
  • Uric acid in blood
  • Arthritis
  • Vomiting
  • High blood potassium
  • Nausea
  • Fast heart rate
  • Rash
  • High cholesterol
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Hair loss

Gastrointestinal Problems linked to Benicar – Sprue-like Enteropathy

Benicar has been associated with serious gastrointestinal problems that can be serious and lead to hospitalization.

In July 2013, the FDA issued a safety announcement warning of the risk of sprue-like enteropathy, a severe gastrointestinal condition more commonly associated with celiac disease.  

Symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy include severe, chronic diarrhea and substantial weight loss. The condition could develop several months to years after patients began taking Benicar, and sometimes required hospitalization. Stopping Benicar usually led to an improvement in symptoms.

The risk for sprue-like enteropathy was severe enough to prompt changes to the Benicar label and led to thousands of lawsuits being filed against the drug’s manufacturer in state and federal courts nationwide.

Villous Atrophy

Some patients who took Benicar and developed sprue-like enteropathy eventually developed another condition called villous atrophy. Villous atrophy occurs when the finger-like tentacles that line the wall of the small intestine (villi) erode away. Since intestinal villi are responsible for absorbing nutrients, losing them can lead to serious nutritional deficiencies.

Why file a Benicar Lawsuit?

Benicar lawsuits accuse manufacturers Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories of failing to warn about their drug’s potential risks and side effects. Benicar has been linked to sprue-like enteropathy, a serious gastrointestinal condition that has sent a number of patients to the hospital due to complications.

Filing a Benicar lawsuit can help patients injured by the defective drug recoup money for medical bills and lost wages. Filing a lawsuit also holds pharmaceutical companies accountable for their actions.

If you took Benicar and suffered from complications including sprue-like enteropathy, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Call Schmidt National Law Group today to speak with our legal team and see if you qualify for a Benicar lawsuit.

Benicar Multidistrict Litigation

The first Benicar lawsuits were filed against the drug makers Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories in 2014. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the claims into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New Jersey federal court in 2015. By July 2017, more than 1,900 cases were involved in the litigation.

The cases slated for trial first — known as bellwether trials — were set to begin sometime in 2017 but never made it into a courtroom. Daiichi Sankyo announced it would settle claims involving Benicar in August 2017.

In addition to the Benicar MDL, there are about 70 cases filed against the drug makers in state court in New Jersey.

Multidistrict litigation helps save time and taxpayer dollars by consolidating similar cases into one central location in order to streamline the litigation process. Lawyers and attorneys on both sides can work together and share resources, an especially valuable tool during the discovery process.

$300 Million Benicar Settlement Reached

Japanese pharmaceutical giant Daiichi Sankyo said it would agree to pay up to $300 million to settle certain claims regarding its blood pressure medicine Benicar. The announcement came on August 1, 2017 and could affect thousands of Benicar cases filed in US federal court.

Daiichi Sankyo did not admit to any wrongdoing by settling the nearly 2,000 claims filed against it and still stands by the safety of its product.

Only patients who took Benicar prior to May 2015 are eligible for the settlement, according to the agreement. It also requires that unfiled cases have a signed retainer from an attorney before 11:59 pm EST (8:59 pm PST) on August 23, 2017 in order to be eligible.

People injured by Benicar who have not yet filed a lawsuit should speak with an attorney before August 23 to see if they qualify for a Benicar claim. You may be qualified for financial compensation if your case qualifies.

Other Benicar Warnings & Lawsuits

FDA Warning – Misleading Ads

In 2006, the FDA sent Daiichi Sankyo a warning letter accusing the company of making misleading claims in its Benicar advertisements. The agency said Daiichi Sankyo made unproven claims about Benicar’s superiority over other blood thinning drugs in its class.

The FDA also accused the drug company of minimizing the risks associated with Benicar by not displaying risks to patients prominently enough within its ads.

Kickback Allegations – False Claims Act

Daiichi Sankyo agreed to pay $39 million in 2015 to settle allegations the company paid doctors illegal kickbacks to persuade them to prescribe more of its products, including Benicar.

The pharmaceutical giant was accused of paying kickbacks to doctors in the form of speaker fees and lavish dinners. The company paid millions to the US Department of Justice and state Medicaid programs to settle the allegations but did not admit any wrongdoing.

Sources

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Benicar label. November 2016. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/021286s036lbl.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High Blood Pressure. March 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/index.htm

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA approves label changes to include intestinal problems (sprue-like enteropathy) linked to blood pressure medicine olmesartan medoxomil.” July 3, 2013. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/ucm359477.htm

Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. “MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District.” July 17, 2017. Retrieved from http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/Pending_MDL_Dockets_By_District-July-17-2017.pdf

Reuters. ”Daiichi Sankyo settles U.S. lawsuits over blood pressure drug Benicar.” Tina Bellon. August 1, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-daiichi-sankyo-lawsuit-idUSKBN1AH4V9

Department of Justice. “Daiichi Sankyo Inc. Agrees to Pay $39 Million to Settle Kickback Allegations Under the False Claims Act.” January 9, 2015. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/daiichi-sankyo-inc-agrees-pay-39-million-settle-kickback-allegations-under-false-claims-act