Belviq Cancer Lawsuit to Continue

Belviq lawsuits have been filed after the Belviq recall last year in response to fears it may cause cancer.

The defendants in the Belviq lawsuits, Arena Pharmaceuticals and Eisai, Inc., have recently filed motions to dismiss in many of these cases.

Last week we saw the first ruling in one of these motions to dismiss. Although the judge dismissed some of the plaintiff’s claims in the case, he declined to dismiss the lawsuits outright.  Plaintiff’s most significant tort claims were untouched.

Belviq Lawsuit

Belviq is a prescription weight-control drug that was first approved for use in the United States back in 2012.

When it first came out, Belviq was viewed as a groundbreaking new diet drug for the treatment of obesity. Eventually, we will get weight-loss drug that works.  But how many diet drugs have been successful?

There were hidden concerns about the safety of Belviq from the very start. The FDA eventually approved the drug despite studies during clinical trials showing Belviq caused cancer in laboratory rats.

Belviq Recall

In February 2020, the weight loss drug Belviq was recalled from the market after new evidence was presented to the FDA which confirmed the early initial concerns that Belviq increased the risk of certain cancers. The new evidence was based on follow-up data from the initial Belviq approval trials. This follow-up study found that Belviq users had significantly higher rates of colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and lung cancer.

The Belviq recall prompted many former Belviq users who had been diagnosed with cancer to file product liability lawsuits against Arena and Eisai. The pace of Belviq lawsuits was slowed down somewhat by the timing of the recall. Belviq was recalled just weeks before the start of the COVID-19 shutdowns in March 2020. As a result, the number of Belviq lawsuits filed in 2020 was comparatively low.

The low number of cases led the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to deny a request to consolidate the pending Belviq lawsuits into a new MDL. Since then, however, the pace of Belviq cancer lawsuits has increased significantly. The JPML may revisit the issue of consolidation into an MDL if this trend continues.

Motions to Dismiss in Davis Case

Amy Davis was one of the very first individuals to file a Belviq lawsuit. Davis was prescribed Belviq and used the drug for a long period of time for the treatment of weight loss. Following her use of Belviq, Davis was diagnosed with breast cancer.

In April 2020, Davis filed a product liability lawsuit against Eisai and Arena that ended up in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Both Eisai and Arena responded to the lawsuit by filing motions to dismiss.

The Arena motion sought full dismissal of all claims for failure to state a claim. Arena argued that Davis’ complaint did not allege specific facts necessary to support her design defect claim. Arena also asserted that the failure to warn claims should be dismissed under the “learned intermediary” doctrine.

 Failure Warn Claims Survive (not design defect)

On October 14, the Judge in the Davis case issued an order and opinion granting in part and denying in part Arena’s motion to dismiss. The judge agreed with Arena’s argument that the complaint fails to allege enough specific facts to support to design defect claim. He dismissed this claim without prejudice (allowing Davis to file an amended complaint with better factual allegations).

With respect to the failure to warn claims, however, the Judge denied Arena’s request for dismissal. The Judge reached a similar conclusion and refused to dismiss Davis’ general negligence claim, finding that the complaint states the necessary elements of a negligence claim under Missouri law.

Belviq Cancer Lawyers

If you have been diagnosed with cancer after taking Belviq, contact our law firm today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082. You can also get a free online consultation.