Eisai Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals — the makers of the drugs Belviq and Belviq XR (lorcaserin) — face a class action lawsuit alleging that the weight loss drugs increase the cancer risk of patients who used them. The lawsuits, filed in March at the U.S. District Court in White Plains, New York, seeks class action status on behalf of patients who used Belviq for weight loss and were diagnosed with cancer.
Belviq was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012 to help patients lose weight together with diet and exercise. At the time that Belviq received FDA approval, the agency raised concerns about pre-approval studies, which suggested that the weight loss drug caused an increased cancer risk in laboratory animals. Although Eisai argued that these increased cancer risks would not be present in humans, the FDA ordered the company to conduct a five year safety study to determine whether Belviq users were at risk of developing cancer.
In February 2020, the FDA received the results of the five-year Belviq cancer study. The study — which followed 12,000 patients who were treated either with Belviq or a placebo — found that Belviq users were more likely to develop several types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer.
In response to these findings, the FDA ordered Eisai to pull Belviq from the market. Eisai complied that same month, withdrawing Belviq and Belviq XR from the market due to the increased cancer risk uncovered in the company’s study. The FDA advised patients who were using Belviq or Belviq XR to stop using the drugs immediately, and to talk with their doctor about alternative weight loss treatments.
Eisai faces lawsuits from Belviq users with cancer
In March 2020, a New York woman filed a class action lawsuit against Eisai. The lawsuit alleges that the drugmaker continued to manufacture and sell Belviq despite clear evidence that the weight loss drug could increase the cancer risk of patients who used it. The lawsuit also names Arena Pharmaceuticals (the original manufacturer of Belviq) and CVS Pharmacy as plaintiffs in the case.
According to the lawsuit, the FDA originally rejected Arena’s application to have Belviq approved for sale in the U.S. because of tests that showed the drug increased the cancer risk of laboratory animals. Although Belviq was approved when Arena and Eisai resubmitted the drug in 2012, the lawsuit alleges that the FDA would never have approved Belviq for sale in the U.S. if the drugmakers had been honest with the agency about the cancer risks of this medication.
The lawsuit against Eisai and Arena is seeking class action status on behalf of patients who purchased Belviq. The lawsuit accuses the two companies of breach of implied warranty, deceptive trade practices, false advertising, unjust enrichment, and fraud in connection with the marketing and sale of Belviq.
Belviq users with cancer may qualify to file a lawsuit
If you or a loved one were treated with Belviq or Belviq XR and diagnosed with cancer — including pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, or lung 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 product liability attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and guide you through the first steps in filing a claim.
For more information about the Belviq lawsuits filed against Eisai and to learn more about whether you may qualify to file a case, contact the attorneys at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend to schedule a free legal consultation. 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.