A recent lawsuit against the manufacturers of the weight loss drug Belviq (lorcaserin) has alleged these companies knew about the increased cancer risk associated with the drug as early as 2013. Belviq was finally recalled in 2020 by the Food and Drug Administration due to evidence that patients who used the drug could be more likely to develop pancreatic, colorectal, or lung cancer.
The lawsuit in question was filed by patient Jennifer Reynolds-Sitzer and her husband, Kenneth Sitzer against Eisai Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals, the two manufacturers of Belviq. According to the lawsuit, Jennifer Reynolds-Sitzer began using Belviq to help lose weight in 2016. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years later. The lawsuit alleges that Reynolds-Sitzer developed cancer due to the increased cancer risk of Belviq that was identified in several studies of the drug’s safety.
Studies Link Belviq to Increased Cancer Risk
Eisai began performing safety trials on Belviq in 2013, after evidence suggested that the drug could cause patients to develop cancer, according to Reynolds-Sitzer’s lawsuit. The study found that Belviq users were more likely than participants who were given a placebo to develop cancer. Even more alarmingly, this cancer risk increased the longer patients used Belviq and the higher doses of the weight loss drug that they received.
Prior to its approval by the FDA, Arena Pharmaceuticals conducted two clinical trials to determine whether Belviq caused cancer in laboratory animals. The first study found that animals who were given Belviq developed several different types of tumors. The second Belviq clinical trial involving animals also found that Belviq was causing tumors. But Arena told the FDA that these results were specific to lab animals, and would not reoccur in humans.
Reynolds-Sitzer’s lawsuit against Eisai and Arena says that this clinical trial data should have alerted the two drugmakers to the fact that Belviq could cause patients to develop cancer. But rather than recalling the weight loss drug, Belviq remained on the market. Finally, after the FDA analyzed all of the data about the link between Belviq and cancer, the agency ordered Eisai to recall the drug in February 2020.
Lawsuits Filed Over Belviq Cancer Link
Shortly after Belviq was recalled by the FDA, patients who developed cancer after taking the weight loss medication began filing lawsuits against Eisai and Arena. In early 2020, a class action lawsuit was filed against the two drugmakers on behalf of patients who used Belviq and were later diagnosed with cancer. A number of individual lawsuits by Belviq users or their loved ones have also been filed against the two pharmaceutical companies.
Like the lawsuit filed by Reynolds-Sitzer and her husband, these other Belviq lawsuits have alleged that Arena and Eisai knew years before the drug was recalled by the FDA that it was linked to an increased risk of developing several types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer. But rather than pulling the drug from sale, Arena and Eisai allowed Belviq to remain on the market, unnecessarily exposing patients to an increased cancer risk.
Free Consultation for Belviq Users Diagnosed With Cancer
If you or a loved one were prescribed Belviq or Belviq XR for weight loss and have been diagnosed with cancer, you may qualify to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for your illness. The first step in taking legal action is to consult with an experienced pharmaceutical liability attorney about your case.
For more information about the Belviq lawsuits that have been filed by patients diagnosed with cancer and to get more information about whether you are eligible to file a claim, contact the lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend by calling us toll-free at 1-866-210-5686. You can also reach us by filling out the free case evaluation form located on the right side of this page for desktop users, and at the bottom of the page on your mobile device.
After we receive your submission, a member of our staff will contact you for more information and to help you schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.