The Food and Drug Administration of Taiwan announced that it will permanently ban the weight loss medication Belviq (lorcaserin), citing evidence linking the drug to an increased cancer risk. Clinical trial data released earlier this year by the manufacturer of Belviq, Eisai Inc., showed that patients who use the weight loss drug face an increased risk of developing pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancer.
Belviq and Belviq XR, an extended release formulation of the drug, were both recalled by the U.S. FDA in February 2020 after studies showed that patients who used the drug were more likely to develop cancer. After Belviq was recalled by U.S. regulators, the Taiwanese FDA also announced that it would recall the drug in Taiwan due to the increased cancer risk uncovered in clinical trial studies.
After Belviq was recalled in Taiwan, the country’s FDA directed Chuang Yi Biotech, which controlled the drug’s permit license in Taiwan, to stop selling Belviq and pull it from the market. The Taiwanese FDA also directed Chuang Yi Biotech to re-evaluate the safety of the weight loss drug.
After performing an evaluation of the safety of Belviq, the Taiwanese FDA announced that it would permanently ban Belviq due to the increased cancer risks associated with the drug. The agency announced that after reviewing data on the dangers of the weight loss drug, it had determined that the risks of Belviq outweigh its benefits as a weight loss medication.
Belviq Lawsuits Filed Against Eisai in the U.S.
Following the FDA’s decision to recall Belviq in the U.S., several lawsuits were filed against Eisai, Inc. by patients who were diagnosed with cancer after using the weight loss drug. These lawsuits have alleged that Eisai and Arena Pharmaceuticals, the original manufacturer of Belviq, failed to properly warn patients and doctors about the risk of side effects from the weight loss drug.
According to the lawsuits, Eisai had originally submitted Belviq for FDA approval in 2010, but the drug was rejected after tests on laboratory animals showed an increased risk of developing cancer. Eisai resubmitted the diet pills for FDA approval in 2012. The drug company told the agency that the increased cancer risk that had previously been observed with the drug was unique to lab animals, and that the drug posed no cancer risk to humans.
Although the FDA approved Belviq for use in the U.S., the agency ordered Eisai to perform additional safety studies about the cancer risks of Belviq. When these tests showed that patients who used Belviq for weight loss were more likely to develop cancer, the FDA ordered a recall of Belviq in the U.S.
In addition to the lawsuits filed by individual Belviq users against Eisai, the company is also facing a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of patients who were prescribed the drug and diagnosed with cancer. The class action lawsuit alleges that Eisai continued to manufacture and sell Belviq despite growing evidence that the drug was associated with an increased risk of developing cancer.
Free Legal Consultation for Belviq Cancer Victims
If you or a loved one used Belviq or Belviq XR for weight loss and were diagnosed with cancer — including pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, or other cancers — you may qualify to file a lawsuit. The first step in filing a claim is to consult with an experienced product liability attorney to learn more about your legal rights.
To find out more about whether you may qualify to file a Belviq lawsuit, contact the law firm of Hissey, Mulderig & Friend to schedule your free legal consultation with one of our attorneys. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-866-210-5686, or by filling out our free case evaluation form located on the right side of this page. After receiving your information, a member of our staff will contact you for more information and to schedule your consultation.