Several diabetes medications continued to face scrutiny concerning the risk they pose to users and Victoza is no exception.
In December 2017, Victoza was one of many medications of its kind that had been the subject of previously dismissed lawsuits to be reinstated by a federal appeals court new medical evidence came to light and made it possible for the cases to proceed.
According to claimants, Victoza and other types of type 2 diabetes medications like it caused users serious health problems, including pancreatic cancer.
In addition to the existing lawsuits proceeding, more people came forward with claims they, too, had been injured by their use of Victoza. There are nearly 1000 cases related to Victoza and other types of type 2 diabetes medications that have been centralized in the Southern District of California court system and more are expected in the coming months and years.
Victoza Dangers Confirmed by Medical Studies
Multiple studies have confirmed that Victoza can be dangerous for users taking the drug.
In one study, it was shown that incretin mimetic drugs like Victoza that are used to keep blood sugar levels stable increase a person’s risk for developing a condition known as pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas. The drugs also cause changes in cells that are considered pre-cancerous.
A 2016 study showed there was no evidence that pancreatic health risks and use of incretin mimetic drugs were linked, but doctors were still encouraged to keep an eye on patients using these drugs.
Two years later, in 2018, a new study was released that again confirmed a connection between pancreas health and medications like Victoza. Data from more than 30,000 patients using the drugs was reviewed and researchers concluded that those using the drugs showed at least double the risk for developing pancreatic cancer when compared to people using other types of diabetes drugs.
It was this information, in part, that led to the reinstatement of the court cases.
Victoza Faces Repeated Accusations of Wrongdoing
According to plaintiffs who had used Victoza, the manufacturer was aware of the risk but failed to warn doctors and patients.
The first bellwether trials are scheduled to begin in 2020.
In the meantime, Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Victoza, has been ordered to pay the federal and state Medicaid programs nearly $60 million after it was accused of misleading doctors concerning the risks of Victoza.
The settlements include payments for violations of the False Claims Act between 2010 and 2014 and violations of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act from 2010 to 2012. According to US Attorney Channing D. Phillips for the District of Columbia, “Novo Nordisk’s actions unnecessarily put vulnerable patients at risk.”
This is not the first time the federal government has forced Novo Nordisk to remedy its practices:
- In 2011, it paid the federal government $25 million to resolve allegations of illegally promoting its drug NovoSeven, which was approved to treat certain bleeding disorders in hemophiliacs.
- In 2009, it paid a fine of $9 million for illegal kickbacks to the former Iraqi government related to criminal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to violate provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Victoza Manufacturer Known for Misleading Doctors and Patients
Since its approval in 2010, Victoza has been the subject of numerous investigations and has been linked to a variety of medical complications. Still, Novo Nordisk refused to warn doctors and potentials users of the drug.
A 2011 study showed at least 50 percent of primary care physicians prescribing Victoza were unaware of the drug’s serious risks. According to federal authorities, the manufacturer actually told sales reps to hide the risks when speaking to doctors.
Approximately 250 of the thousands of people who have filed lawsuits related to Victoza and other types of type 2 diabetes medications have developed pancreatic cancer.
Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.