Ozempic Lawsuit Filed Over Gastroparesis and Necrotizing Pancreatitis Injuries

Necrotizing pancreatitis is caused by the death of pancreas tissue, resulting in infections and lower pancreas functionality which can limit digestion.

An Iowa man has filed a product liability lawsuit against Ozempic manufacturers, indicating that the diabetes drug caused him to develop both gastroparesis and necrotizing pancreatitis, which has resulted in severe health problems.

Shawn Derrick filed the complaint (PDF) on April 17, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, alleging that Novo Nordisk and its subsidiaries failed to provide adequate warnings about Ozempic health risks.

Ozempic (semaglutide) was initially approved for the treatment of people with Type 2 diabetes, and is part of a popular new class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs). However, amid aggressive advertisements that promoted the weight loss benefits, Ozempic has been increasingly prescribed as a diet drug in recent years, making it a blockbuster treatment that is now used by millions of Americans.

As a result of the popularity of Ozempic for weight loss, Novo Nordisk has introduced a higher dose version under the brand name Wegovy, which is specifically approved as a diet drug. However, it contains the same active ingredient.

Although advertisements promote the drug as safe and effective, with few serious health risks, Derrick now joins a growing number of other former users pursuing Ozempic lawsuits and Wegovy lawsuits against Novo Nordisk, each raising similar allegations that a large number of users are experiencing long-term side effects, including intestinal blockages, stomach paralysis and other injuries.

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According to the lawsuit, Derrick received Ozempic injections from October 2021 until May 2022. As a result of Ozempic side effects, he developed gastroparesis and necrotizing pancreatitis, which resulted in severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, tachycardia, and distributive shock.

Derrick’s complaint indicates that Novo Nordisk sold Ozempic without adequate warning that the drug could cause gastroparesis or necrotizing pancreatitis.

“Defendants knew or should have known of the causal association between the use of GLP-1RAs and the risk of developing pancreatitis,” the lawsuit states. “Novo Nordisk’s failure to disclose information that they possessed regarding the causal association between the use of GLP-1RAs and the risk of developing necrotizing pancreatitis, rendered the warnings for Ozempic inadequate.”

Necrotizing pancreatitis occurs when part of the pancreas dies due to inflammation or injury. This can lead to infections and serious health problems. One of these problems is pancreatic insufficiency, where the pancreas loses some of its functionality, preventing it from producing adequate levels of digestive enzymes used to break down food.

This could have a compounding effect with Ozempic’s known stomach paralysis side effects.

Derrick’s lawsuit presents claims of negligent failure to warn and strict product liability failure to warn, as well as breach of warranty, fraudulent concealment, fraudulent misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation. He seeks both punitive and compensatory damages.

April 2024 Ozempic Lawsuit Update

In February, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issued a transfer order calling for all gastrointestinal injury lawsuits involving Ozempic or any other GLP-1 medications to be consolidated for coordinated pretrial proceedings under U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The litigation not only focuses on side effects of Ozempic, but also other medications from the same class, including Wegovy, Mounjaro, Zepbound, Trulicity and others.

Given the widespread use of these medications in recent years for weight loss, it is widely expected that thousands of claims will be transferred to the Ozempic litigation as lawyer continue to review and file claims in the coming months, as some estimates indicate nearly 2% of the U.S. population has been prescribed one of the GLP-1 medications, either for diabetes treatment or weight loss.

To help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation, it is expected that Judge Pratter will establish a bellwether process to prepare a small group of Ozempic side effect lawsuits for early trial dates. However, if the parties are unable to negotiate settlements or another resolution for the litigation after the bellwether trials, the Court may later remand each case back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for trial.

Image Credit: Natalia - stock.adobe.com

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