In July of 2013, the FDA issued an updated label warning that the drug Benicar (the generic name is olmesartan medoxomil) could cause sprue-like enteropathy; a disease often characterized by celiac-like symptoms which can damage the small intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients. The consequences of sprue-like enteropathy can be devastating, ranging from chronic diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, and kidney failure to permanent intestinal damage. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, our New York Benicar lawyers are currently interviewing patients in New York State and nationwide who suffered serious injury or illness from taking the drug to help determine their legal options. We understand the hardships caused by Benicar-related injuries and illnesses and are determined to help victims recover compensation for their losses.
If you or someone you love has suffered from sprue-like enteropathy or another injury or illness while taking Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, or Tribenzor, our New York lawyers are here to help. For a free, no-obligation consultation to help determine your legal options, call 212.406.1700 or contact us online.What is Benicar?
Drugs marketed under the names Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, Tribenzor are medications developed and used to treat high blood pressure or hypertension. Benicar was clinically developed and marketed by Daiichi Sankyo, a Japanese pharmaceutical company. Daiichi Sankyo spent close to a billion dollars marketing Benicar and olmesartan containing drugs for patients suffering from hypertension. The FDA’s records indicate that in 2012, over 10 million prescriptions were issued for Benicar. Claims against Daiichi Sankyo include the claim that the company hired a large sales force which falsely mislead the public into thinking that Benicar was more effective than competing hypertension drugs. The U.S. subsidiary of Daiichi Sankyo was fined $39 million dollars by the United States Department of Justice after the D.O.J. essentially asserted that Daiichi Sankyo paid kickbacks to physicians for writing more prescriptions for Daiichi medications, including moneys paid by the company to physicians for promoting and prescribing Benicar, Azor, and Tribenzor.A Mayo Clinic Study Proved a Link Between Benicar Use and Sprue-like Enteropathy
Benicar, a medication used to treat patients with hypertension, has been linked to serious gastrointestinal problems. A recent study conducted by Dr. Joseph Murray of the Mayo Clinic has drawn a link between the development of sprue-like enteropathy and the use of Benicar.
Dr. Murray’s study featured 22 patients who had stopped using Benicar and had been evaluated for unexplained chronic diarrhea and enteropathy while taking a Benicar drug (containing olmesartan). All of the participants in the study had shown improvement after suspending use of Benicar. Celiac disease had been ruled out in all cases. For instance, these patients did not respond to typical treatments for Celiac disease, such as a gluten-free diet. Additionally, they did not have a measurable amount of tissue transglutaminase in their blood, which is a typical finding used to positively diagnose Celiac disease. Instead, these patients showed symptoms of mucosal inflammation, villous atrophy, and collagen deposits.
All 22 patients saw some form of relief from their gastrointestinal symptoms and began gaining weight. Due to the combination of test results, findings, and prompt relief of symptoms upon cessation of Benicar use, Dr. Murray concluded that rather than Celiac disease, the patients’ gastrointestinal symptoms had been caused by Benicar. Upon conclusion of the study, the Mayo Clinic published Dr. Murray’s findings on-line in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
In scientific terms, it appears that Benicar may result in an immune response which leads to a gene expression whereby the release of genetic information transforms into a protein that can cause a mutation of cells. This cellular damage in the intestinal tract may be a cause of the sprue-like enteropathy symptoms suffered by Benicar users.
Please note that you should not change or discontinue medications without appropriate consultation with your doctor(s).Do You Have a Valid Benicar Lawsuit?
Typical case reviews regarding damages caused by Benicar include Benicar users who have suffered:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Severe weight loss
- Injury or death to a developing fetus
- Abdominal pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Kidney problems, including failure
- Liver Damage
- Intestinal damage
- Celiac diagnosis or mis-diagnosis
- Hospitalization for gastrointestinal issues
- Consultation with gastroenterologist for intestinal issues
Most cases we review for damages involve persons who began taking olmesartan-based drugs (Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, or Tribenzor) prior to July of 2013. However, the injury or damages suffered may have become evident even after July of 2013. Many people have taken Benicar for up to 11 years before being advised of the serious risks involved. Often, symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy do not become evident until years after initially taking the drug, as the bodily ability to absorb food and water slowly deteriorates.Have there been any Large Benicar-related Verdicts or Settlements?
So far there have been no large settlements involving Benicar’s litigation. The lack of settlements is due to the fact that the Benicar litigation is relatively young and lawsuits have just started to be filed. In fact, the U.S. District Judge presiding over all Benicar injury lawsuits has scheduled an initial status conference in the recently established multi-district litigation (MDL) for cases filed in the federal court system throughout the country. The initial status conference for lawyers involved in various Benicar cases pending nationally throughout the Federal Court System has been scheduled for April 29, 2015. The U.S. Judicial panel on multi-district litigation (MDL) had centralized the cases before a U.S. Federal District Judge in New Jersey in order to centralize Benicar injury litigation that is pending in at least 23 separate U.S. District Courts and consists of at least 35 individual product liability claims. The claims are that Daiichi Sankyo, a multi-billion dollar company who makes Benicar, failed to properly warn victims of the blood pressure medication of the risks of chronic diarrhea, weight loss, and the serious symptoms of the gastrointestinal condition medically known as sprue-like enteropathy. It should be stressed that we are working towards individualized settlements or verdicts of Benicar claims.What Compensation is Available to Patients in a Benicar Lawsuit?
This is not a situation whereby a class action is being brought and the litigants will necessarily recover only a small amount of the proceeds. Rather, each person who sustained an injury will be entitled to their own individual claim. If there is a settlement, each individual will receive compensation based on their own specific case. Attorney fees awarded by the court generally range from 20-40% of the amount recovered, an amount that can vary depending upon any particular settlement. Our law firm and/or law firms we work with pay all expenses and costs of litigating and will only recover costs and only a receive a legal fee if you receive money as a result of a settlement or verdict. If and when liability is established, there already appear to be a number of individual Benicar claims that are worth in excess of $1 million dollars in damages.Injured Patients Should Contact a New York Benicar Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Every state places a time restriction on how long an injured patient can file a lawsuit. These time restrictions are known as a statute of limitations. If the statute of limitations expires before a victim files a claim, they may permanently lose their opportunity to recover compensation for the pain and suffering they were forced to endure. In New York, the statute of limitations for filing an injury claim is generally 3 years. We are evaluating cases for patients in New York State who took Benicar and suffered from sprue-like enteropathy or other serious gastrointestinal issues, and will be doing so at least until July of 2016, which is 3 years from the time that the FDA updated the Benicar warning label to include warnings regarding symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy. As a result New York residents who have suffered from any symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy after taking Benicar shouldn’t hesitate to contact an experienced New York Benicar attorney.Our Lawyers are Evaluating Benicar Cases from New York State and Across the Country
While our firm is located in lower-Manhattan, we do not restrict the cases we take to New York City. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, we understand the hardships that some patients with hypertension have been forced to endure after choosing Benicar to treat their high blood pressure. As a result we are committed to helping as many people who suffered unnecessary gastrointestinal problems as possible. We are currently evaluating cases from all over New York, including Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Bronx, Albany, Long Island, and all of up-state New York.
Our firm is also evaluating cases nationwide, as long as the statute of limitations for bringing a case has not expired in your particular state.
If you or someone you love has suffered from sprue-like enteropathy or another gastrointestinal illness while taking Benicar, you may have grounds to recover compensation from Daiichi Sankyo. For a free review of your legal options with our New York Benicar Attorneys, give us a call at 212.406.1700 or contact us online.