Another Benicar Lawsuit Filed Over Colonic Side Effects, MDL Grows

Public Health Watchdog Breaking News
Public Health Watchdog Breaking News

Benicar Lawsuits Allege Chronic Diarrhea, Vomiting, Nausea, Colitis, Malnutrition, Weight Loss

The Benicar litigation continues to grow, as another lawsuit was filed alleging that the hypertension medication causes gastrointestinal side effects. Daiichi Sankyo Inc. and Forest Laboratories LLC are facing lawsuits over Benicar, Benicar HTZ, Azor and Tribenzor. Benicar lawsuits are consolidated in a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL).

The product liability attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing clients in lawsuits involving drug side effects. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a Benicar lawsuit.

According to court records, a recent Benicar lawsuit was filed in New Jersey federal court. The plaintiff is a 65-year-old Florida woman who began taking Benicar to treat her high blood pressure in February 2008. She then developed severe colon distress, allegedly due to Benicar side effects. The suit alleges that drug makers failed to warn about the risks.

Benicar users have reported gastrointestinal side effects, including chronic diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, colitis, enteropathy, malnutrition, weight loss and kidney failure.

The plaintiff is suing Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories on 14 counts. The suit alleges, among other things: failure to warn, design defect, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and violation of the consumer protection act of the State of Florida.

The Benicar MDL is underway in New Jersey before U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler. MDLs are a type of mass tort that centralize similar lawsuits to one court before one judge. Consolidating cases in this manner helps streamline the legal process and makes litigation more efficient.
Plaintiffs in the Benicar MDL similarly allege that the hypertension medication caused sprue-like enteropathy, a gastrointestinal condition causing diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, colitis and other related symptoms. Allegedly, Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories were aware of the risks but failed to warn patients or the medical community.

For example, one Benicar lawsuit was filed on behalf of an Oklahoma woman who began taking the medication in 2013. The plaintiff developed nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, malabsorption, malnutrition, villous atrophy, sprue-like enteropathy, colitis and dehydration. She alleges that Benicar caused these adverse events and that drug makers failed to warn of the risks. The complaint states that complications forced her to undergo emergency intervention, resulting in substantial medical bills. The plaintiff alleges that she would have chosen a different option if she knew about the potential side effects.

An MDL is different from a class action lawsuit, where a large group of plaintiffs file one complaint against a common defendant. In a mass tort, similar lawsuits are grouped together in one court but plaintiffs are treated separately.

In addition to the MDL, Benicar lawsuits have also been filed in New Jersey state court before Superior Court Judge Nelson Johnson.

According to court records, the Benicar MDL contains over 1,700 lawsuits. Bellwether trials are expected to begin sometime this year. Bellwether trials are when the first lawsuits in a mass tort go to trial. These are considered “test cases” because both parties get to see how their arguments play out in court for the first time. Bellwether cases can facilitate settlement talks. For example, drug makers may be more inclined to settle if juries award large verdicts to the plaintiff.

Alleged adverse events include intestinal symptoms such as chronic diarrhea and malnutrition. In some cases, plaintiffs say they suffered diarrhea as much as 10 or 20 times a day, leading to severe weight loss of 75 to 100 pounds.

Benicar Sprue-Like Enteropathy Background

In 2013, the Benicar label was updated to include the risk of sprue-like enteropathy, which causes gastrointestinal symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, weight loss and malnutrition.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a Dug Safety Communication in 2013 warning that Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, Tribenzor, and generics may lead to sprue-like enteropathy. Patients may experience “severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss” regulators said.
Regulators noted that Mayo Clinic researchers had similar findings in 22 case reports.

In 2013, American Journal of Gastroenterology published a study evaluating Benicar-related sprue-like enteropathy. The study involved some patients who tested negative for celiac disease developed Benicar-related sprue-like enteropathy. The authors wrote, “The role of medications in the development of VA [villous atrophy] and the optimal dose and length of immunosuppression for patients with US [unclassified sprue] should be investigated further.”

Filing a Benicar Lawsuit

If you or someone you know has questions about filing a Benicar lawsuit, contact Parker Waichman today. Our firm offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).