$300 Million Settlement for Victims of Defective Blood Pressure Drugs
On August 1st, 2017, a Plaintiffs’ Negotiating Committee reached a settlement agreement with Daiichi Sankyo, a Japanese pharmaceutical company that manufactures a number of high blood-pressure medications.
The $300 million settlement will be dispersed to the approximately 2,500 individuals who were party to this class action lawsuit.
Under the agreement, claimants who meet specific criteria will be eligible for compensation, but time is of the essence. Visit the Olmesartan Products Resolution Program Website for information on eligibility requirements, deadlines, and other pertinent information.
What are Olmesartan Products?
Olmesartan is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB), a family of high blood pressure medications that prevent angiotensin II from binding to receptors in muscles and blood vessels. Through this, Olmesartan products assist in the dilation of blood vessels, helping to reduce blood pressure.
Olmesartan is sometimes prescribed on its own to relax blood vessels and treat hypertension. It can also be found in combination with two other high blood pressure medications, amlodipine and hydrochlorothiazide. If you have been prescribed a medication containing olmesartan, it is advisable to speak with your doctor about the serious side effects this medication can cause — and to seriously consider less risky options.
The FDA notes that the side effects linked to olmesartan have not been observed with other ARB medications.
Which Olmesartan Products Were Included in This Lawsuit?
There were four medications at the heart of this lawsuit: Benicar, Benicar HCT, Tribenzor, and Azor, all of which contain olmesartan medoxomi as an active ingredient. These medications, in some form, have been prescribed for patients with hypertension since their approval by the FDA in 2002.
While effective at treating high blood pressure in many patients, serious gastrointestinal side effects began being documented shortly after it was introduced to the U.S. market.
Side Effects of Olmesartan
Side effects linked to Benicar and related medications include:
· Vomiting and nausea
· Abdominal pain
· Dehydration and malnutrition
· Kidney failure
Benicar, Azor, and Tribenzor may result in serious weight loss and a host of other stomach problems as well. Most worrisome, medications containing the active ingredient olmesartan are also linked to sprue-like enteropathy, a type of villous atrophy typically related to Celiac Disease.
A Close Look at Sprue-Like Enteropathy
Sprue-like enteropathy is a malabsorptive disorder typically related to the intake of gluten. However, in 2012, after noticing symptoms such as severe diarrhea and significant weight loss in patients taking olmesartan medications, the Mayo Clinic conducted a study that found drug induced sprue-like enteropathy posed a real threat to some patients who had been prescribed medications with this active ingredient.
The study looked at 22 patients who were taking olmesartan products, finding that, in addition to extreme abdominal pain and chronic severe diarrhea, these patients had experienced a median weight loss of 40 pounds. 14 of these patients had to be hospitalized following drastic and dangerous weight loss. All patients experienced weight gain as soon as they stopped taking olmesartan medications.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that Olmesartan-Induced Enteropathy can begin “months to years after the initiation of therapy.” Many of these cases result in hospitalization. According to the NIH, the lag time between beginning therapy and the onset of symptoms is too long to suggest an allergic type-1 hyper-sensitivity response, indicating that it is the medication itself that is causing the problem. These and similar findings played a critical role in the recent class action lawsuit against Daiichi Sankyo and the resulting $300 million settlement.
It should be noted that this settlement is in addition to a $39 million settlement Daiichi Sankyo reached with the U.S. federal government and state Medicaid programs in 2015. That settlement was for kickbacks the pharmaceutical company paid doctors who prescribed Benicar, Benicar HCT, Tribenzor, and Azor. Many of these kickbacks were paid long after the dangers of olmesartan medications were known.
A Continuing Concern
Olmesartan is but one of several active ingredients in commonly prescribed medications that are linked to serious and even fatal side effects. Despite this, many of these dangerous medications are routinely prescribed to even the most vulnerable of patients. Increased FDA warnings are often not enough to protect patients. This is where attorneys come in.
When you sustain an injury or suffer serious side effects from a dangerous medication, you need a qualified and experienced legal team on your side. If you have questions about your rights or need to speak with a dangerous medication lawyer, give us a call at 855–711–4933 to speak with one of our attorneys for free.