The manufacturers of the weight loss drug Belviq (lorcaserin) — Eisai Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals — are facing several lawsuits over allegations that the medication is linked to an increased cancer risk. Patients who used Belviq to lose weight and have been diagnosed with cancer may qualify to take legal action and receive compensation for their injuries.
Belviq was recalled by the FDA in March 2020 after clinical trials conducted by Eisai showed that patients who used the weight loss drug were more likely than non-users to be diagnosed with cancer. The agency stated that Belviq users showed an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer, although other cancers may also be caused by the drug.
In the wake of the FDA’s Belviq recall, patients who were diagnosed with cancer after using the weight loss drug filed lawsuits against Eisai and Arena.
In March 2020, a New York woman filed a class action lawsuit against the drugmakers on behalf of Belviq users who were diagnosed with cancer. The lawsuit alleges that Eisai and Arena failed to properly warn patients and doctors about the risk of side effects from the weight loss drug.
Several individual Belviq lawsuits have also been filed against Eisai and Arena. In June 2020, a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer after taking Belviq filed a lawsuit in Louisiana. The lawsuit alleged that this breast cancer diagnosis was caused by the woman’s use of Belviq.
Concerns About Belviq Cancers Before FDA Approval
These lawsuits against Eisai and Arena allege that the drugmakers knew about the cancer risks associated with Belviq before the drug went on the market. Belviq was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012, but even then, there were concerns about the side effects of the drug.
Eisai had initially submitted Belviq for FDA approval in 2010, but it had been rejected by the agency after clinical trial data showed that the weight loss drug might increase the risk of developing cancer. Tests performed by Eisai on laboratory animals revealed an increased risk of developing brain cancer and breast cancer.
After Eisai was able to convince the FDA that these cancer risks were unique to lab animals and would not reoccur in humans, Belviq was approved by the agency in 2012. However, the FDA ordered Eisai to perform additional safety tests on Belviq to ensure the drug was not associated with an increased cancer risk.
In February 2020, preliminary results from Eisai’s safety trials indicated that Belviq was linked to an increased risk of developing cancer in patients who took the drug to lose weight. After an FDA review confirmed that Belviq users were more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, or other cancers, Belviq was withdrawn from the market in the U.S.
Free Legal Consultation for Belviq Users With Cancer
If you or a loved one took Belviq to lose weight and have been diagnosed with cancer, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an experienced pharmaceutical liability attorney, who can help you find out whether you qualify to file a case and advise you regarding your legal rights.
For more information about filing a Belviq lawsuit — and to find out whether you qualify to take legal action — contact the lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend to receive your free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-866-210-5686, or by filling out our free online case evaluation form located on the right side of this page. After you submit your case evaluation, one of our representatives will contact you to obtain additional information and schedule your free consultation with an attorney.