Lawsuit Alleges Discontinued Belviq Caused Colon Cancer Diagnosis

After using the weight loss drug for nearly two years, a woman indicates she was diagnosed with colon cancer from Belviq months before it was recalled.

  • Belviq was discontinued in early 2020, after it was linked to an increased risk of cancer.
  • Dozens of former users are now pursuing Belviq lawsuits against the manufacturer.
  • A New York woman indicates her colon cancer diagnosis in Oct 2019 was caused by use of the Belviq from Jan 2015 to Nov 2016, alleging inadequate warnings were provided.
  • Lawyers are still reviewing new cases for cancer from Belviq. Submit a Claim

According to allegations raised in a recently filed product liability lawsuit, a New York woman’s colon cancer diagnosis was caused by Belviq, a discontinued weight loss drug that was recalled last year amid concerns about the potential cancer side effects.

Rebecca Goldstein filed the complaint (PDF) on September 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, accusing Eisai, Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the defendants, of misrepresenting the safety of the weight loss drug.

Belviq was approved by the FDA in 2012, as the first new diet pill allowed on the market in the United States in years. Although the medication was introduced after a series of recalls and problems were associated with other weight-loss medications, the lawsuit indicates the drug makers did not disclose they failed to properly test or study Belviq for cancer risks, rendering warnings provided with the medication inadequate.

In February 2020, the FDA required a Belviq recall, after identifying an increased incidence of cancer among users of the medication in post-marketing study data.

Goldstein’s lawsuit indicates she first began using Belviq in January 2015, and continued to use the drug through about November 2016. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in October 2019, which the lawsuit blames on Goldstein’s Belviq use.

The decision to allow Belviq on the market was controversial, and the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen warned in 2012 that there would likely be problems with Belviq, predicting the diet drug would eventually be discontinued and removed from the market, like a number of other previously-approved weight-loss treatments.

In July 2019, an expert analysis of clinical trial data was published by the American College of Cardiology, which looked at the effectiveness and side effects of Belviq, including the largest concern at the time: cardiovascular risks.

While not publicly announced until months later, the data contained concerning indications about a potential link between Belviq and pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer and lung cancer. However, the FDA did not issue Belviq cancer warnings until January 2020, and several weeks later it was determined the weight loss drug needed to be removed from the market.

“Defendants negligently and improperly failed to perform sufficient tests, if any, on humans using Belviq during clinical trials, forcing Plaintiff Rebecca G. Goldstein, and her prescribing physician, hospitals, and/or the FDA to rely on safety information that applies to other chronic weight management treatments, which does not entirely and/or necessarily apply to Belviq whatsoever,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff Rebecca G. Goldstein has sustained the above health consequences due to her use of Belviq and Defendants’ actions or omissions were a direct and proximate cause of her health consequences.”

Goldstein’s case joins hundreds of similar complaints filed over the past two years by former users who allege Belviq caused cancer to develop after the medication was discontinued.

Since the strongest sales for Belviq came over the last few years the drug was on the market, it is widely expected that additional lawsuits will be filed in the coming months and years, as former users may be diagnosed with cases of breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer and other injuries.

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