Lawsuit Claims Belviq Caused Missouri Woman’s Breast Cancer
A lawsuit filed on September 23 claims that a woman was diagnosed with breast cancer after using the since-recalled weight loss medication Belviq from August 2017 until November 2019. The lawsuit names Eisai and Arena Pharmaceuticals as defendants.
The lawsuit argues that Eisai and Arena knew or should have known that Belviq use creates an increased risk of cancer, yet failed to warn the plaintiff and the public about this risk, and that the plaintiff developed breast cancer as a result of this negligent failure to warn.
The lawsuit notes that the defendants’ own two-year study on rats identified Belviq as “a non-genotoxic carcinogen inducing multiple tumor types, primarily due to an increase in mammary tumors.” The lawsuit also notes that another two-year study in mice conducted by the defendants demonstrated “an increase in malignant hepatocellular carcinoma in males and schwannoma in females.”
The lawsuit states that the defendants conducted a post-marketing trial from January 2014 to June 2018. The FDA then requested that Belviq be removed from the market in February 2020 after reviewing the study data, stating that the study “shows an increased occurrence of cancer.” The risk of cancer increased as the duration of Belviq treatment increased in that study.
The lawsuit states that “Arena and Eisai devised a plan to manufacture, distribute, market and sell Belviq without adequate warnings to prescribing physicians or Plaintiff that Belviq was associated with and/or could cause cancer.”
The lawsuit seeks to recover damages based on numerous causes of action, including:
Strict products liability – design defect: The lawsuit argues that Belviq is defective in design because it is not reasonably fit or safe for its intended purpose and/or its foreseeable risks exceed its benefit.
Strict products liability – failure to warn: “Defendants Arena and Eisai both omitted and downplayed the significantly increased risks of cancer with Belviq that both Defendants knew [or] should have known from previous testing and research even prior to Belviq’s approval,” the lawsuit reads.
Negligence: The lawsuit argues that the defendants were negligent in:
• Selling Belviq without testing it thoroughly or adequately
• Failing to warn about Belviq’s cancer risks
• Failing to exercise reasonable care in designing Belviq
• Manufacturing Belviq in a manner dangerous to its users
• Concealing information about Belviq’s cancer risks
• Under-reporting, underestimating and downplaying Belviq’s association with cancer
The lawsuit also seeks damages based on breach of implied warranty of merchantability, negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent misrepresentation.