Imagine being part of an industry which boasts a net worth of $72 billion. This is what the weight-loss industry was worth in 2019. This is despite the fact we seem to have experienced a time where there is less “fat shaming”, more acceptance of body image, and fewer overall dieters. However, “do-it-yourself” plans are still on the rise. Diet pills, like any type of substance you put into your body has a potential of doing harm. Allan Berger & Associates recently learned that Belviq, a weight loss drug has been recalled.
Belviq Recall Due to Possible Cancer Risk
During 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Belviq, manufactured by Eisai Co., Ltd., a Japanese-owned firm which has been in existence since 1911, for weight loss therapy. This drug, which was used successfully by many who were morbidly obese and had many associated diseased, has now been determined to put users at risk for developing cancer. Unfortunately, there are multiple cancers which long-term users may be facing including lung, colorectal, and pancreatic.
After reviewing multiple instances of use over a period of five years, the FDA has decided the best option was to remove the drug from distribution. As a result, the company voluntarily withdrew the medication from distribution and physicians were advised to notify their patients taking lorcaserin (the base name of Belviq) to stop taking the drug. Physicians were also advised to stop prescribing the drug to patients. However, this still potentially leaves thousands of patients who took Belviq susceptible to cancers, particularly for those who may have been taking the drug since its original approval.
Company Disagrees with FDA Findings
Despite the fact the FDA reviewed available data and used such data to determine there was an increased risk of contracting cancer, the company strongly disputes there is any correlation. The company denies having any knowledge the drug can contribute to or cause any type of cancer. While the company has voluntarily pulled Belviq from the market, they insist any risk is mitigated by the potentially good results those who have serious weight issues. The company went on to point out that these people often face serious threats from other diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Symptoms of Cancers Which Should Never Be Ignored
Lung, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers are life-altering and in some cases can be deadly. Treatments can wreak havoc on a person and on their family. Given there is no suggestion by the FDA for additional screenings, anyone who has taken Belviq should be aware of the potential signs of these cancers which are:
- Lung Cancer — unfortunately lung cancer victims are unaware of early symptomsbecause they may be attributed to other conditions. Headaches, coughing, and hoarseness can be commonly associated with allergic reactions. However, should you start coughing up small amounts of blood, notice a sudden unexplained loss of weight, or notice shortness of breath or chest pain, you need to see a physician as soon as possible.
- Pancreatic Cancer — fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain, blood clots, and new diagnosis of diabetes or worsening of previously diagnosed diabetes may be early symptoms of pancreatic cancer. You should advise your physician you were taking Belviq in the event they are not the same physician who prescribed the drug. Follow doctors directions and look into the therapies which have been developed for this type of cancer.
- Colorectal Cancer — weakness and fatigue, sudden unexplained weight loss, change in bowel habits, sudden increase in problems with gas or bloating, and rectal bleeding may be early signs of colorectal cancer. This type of cancer can be treated in various ways, some of them requiring major life changes including the requirement of an ostomy which collects bodily waste outside of your body.
Unfortunately, there will be some victims of these cancers who will lose their battle fighting the cancer and will succumb to the disease.
Cancer Victims Who Took Belviq
For those who have taken Belviq or Belviq XR and were diagnosed with any type of cancer, you may potentially have the basis for filing a personal injury lawsuit. Chances are that the manufacturer can be held accountable for failing to disclose these possibly deadly side effects. Cancer is always a tragedy and no family should ever have to face this diagnosis because someone was facing a choice of increased health issues due to their weight were led to believe there was finally an answer.
The challenges these victims face is serious. Many will have to undergo long-term treatment, some will have life-altering surgical procedures, and all will have to face financial challenges. Holding the drug manufacturer accountable for their disease because they either did not know or did not properly test a drug is one way to ensure the drug company does not get away with providing a dangerous drug to the public. You can have a part in educating others and holding the manufacturer accountable by filing a lawsuit using an attorney who has experience with drug company lawsuits.
Liability, Negligence, and Compensation
There is little doubt thanks to the testing done by the FDA there is a correlation between the drug Belviq and the development of certain cancers. This will not stop the manufacturer from fighting back against any lawsuits which may be filed. Allan Berger & Associates has experience going up against drug companies and the lawyers they hire. You want someone who is not going to be concerned about the army of lawyers who will likely be attempting to undermine your claim.
Every lawsuit is different — every type of cancer is different — every patient is different. Therefore, there is no easy answer about what type of compensation you may be eligible for when filing a dangerous drug lawsuit. However, there are certain types of compensation which you may be eligible for including:
- Treatment of your cancer — regardless of what type of cancer you have, your treatment will be extended and will be costly. Cancer has many different treatments and in some cases, those treatments could cost in excess of $10,000 per month. Even after successful treatments, patients often require long-term drug therapies which can run thousands of dollars annually.
- Work and wage loss — cancer patients may be forced from their job due to fatigue, treatments, or simply because they are unable to continue in the same line of work because of the risk of infection while their immune system is compromised. You could be eligible for wage loss compensation.
- Mental health therapy — cancer is hard on patients, and on their families. The emotional toll of cancer treatments, job loss, and other issues could require treatment by a mental health care provider to ensure you can maintain a healthy outlook during this challenging time.
Patients who are undergoing cancer treatments may also be eligible to claim the costs of getting to and from appointments, the cost of specialized tests, surgical procedures that may be required and more. You should document any costs which can be attributed to your diagnoses and discuss these costs with your attorney.
Families Losing a Loved One to Cancer After Belviq
Unfortunately, some victims of these cancers which were diagnosed after long-term use of Belviq will lose their battle with cancer. In these unfortunate circumstances, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits can help you recover not only the costs associated with your loved one’s medical care prior to their death but they can also help your family recover financially in other ways. We may be able to help you recover the unexpected costs of funeral and burial expenses, loss of care and support, and future wages your family no longer has access to because of the death of a loved one. While Allan Berger & Associates understands there is not enough money in the world to make up for the loss of a loved one, our goal is to make sure your family does not have to face an uncertain financial future.
Costs Associated with a Bad Drug Lawsuit
You may think you cannot afford to work with an attorney to file a lawsuit after you are diagnosed with cancer. However, you could be facing financial ruin if you do not take this step. What you may not know is the bad drug attorneys at Allan Berger & Associates accept cases on a contingency fee. That means you are not obligated to pay any legal fees until such time as we are able to win a settlement on your behalf. You should feel confident that we will do everything in our power to ensure you get a fair settlement for the illness you suffered as a result of taking Belviq when you were unaware of the potential side effects.
If you were diagnosed with cancer after taking Belviq, or your family lost a loved one to a cancer and you believe it is because they were taking Belviq you should contact the prescription drug lawsuit attorneys at Allan Berger & Associates at 504-526-2222 and schedule a free consultation. We will review the facts of your specific situation, advise you of the options available to you and help you determine what steps you should take next.