Diabetes and weight loss medications are alleged to cause adverse side effects. Learn about the brands at the center of a growing lawsuit.
The Medications at the Center of a Lawsuit
Semaglutide medications are a relatively recent development used to treat those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or obesity. They work by mimicking a hormone called GLP-1, which the body uses to produce more insulin and reduce blood sugar. In larger doses, GLP-1 can even interact with parts of the brain to reduce appetite and create a feeling of fullness.
These medications soon became a common prescription, with several brands being created to address common weight-loss issues, and the FDA currently approves three. Millions of people take semaglutide medications daily to treat their weight-related issues and rely on them to live a healthier lifestyle.
Now, semaglutide medications are at the center of a major mass tort litigation, with consumers requiring hospitalization for severe side effects. Organizations within the United Kingdom and European Union have already launched probes into semaglutide medications, investing the possible link to new on-set suicidal thoughts.
While semaglutide medications are central to the mass tort, most consumers are unaware of the various brands they fall under and their uses beyond what was prescribed. Despite all mimicking GLP-1, these medications vary in purpose, administration, and prescription.
The first FDA-approved and most popular medication, Ozempic and semaglutide medications in general were created by Jesper Lau, Vice President of Diabetes Protein and Peptide Chemistry at Novo Nordisk, in 2012. It was created to be a longer-lasting and more convenient alternative to liraglutide, another key ingredient for type 2 diabetes medication that requires once-a-day injections. With semaglutide medications, this was extended to once-weekly medications.
After clinical trials showed semaglutide medications were an effective treatment for weight loss, Novo Nordisk filed for FDA approval in December 2016. Ozempic was not recognized until a full year later in December 2017 when the FDA approved the once-a-week injection for those with type 2 diabetes.
Similar to Ozempic, Rybelsus is another semaglutide used to treat type 2 diabetes approved by the FDA in September 2019. What makes it different is how it is administered: while Ozempic is a once-a-week injection, Rybelsus is a daily oral tablet. While it helps control blood sugar levels, Rybelsus does not reduce the risk of major cardiac events such as a stroke or heart attack, unlike Ozempic.
Wegovy was the third semaglutide medication approved by the FDA in June 2021. However, unlike Ozempic and Rybelsus, Wegovy is not used to treat type 2 diabetes. Instead, Wegovy is prescribed to those living with obesity, meaning they have a body mass index of 30 or more, and was the first new chronic weight treatment approved by the FDA since 2014. This weekly pre-measured injection activates various GLP-1 receptors involving appetite regulation throughout the brain, decreasing overall calorie intake. Pairing it with a healthy diet and regular exercise yields positive results, but comes with the increased risk of thyroid C-cell tumors and other adverse reactions.
Saxenda is similar to Wegovy in that it is prescribed to obese or overweight adults to help with weight loss. What separates Saxenda from Wegovy or even Ozempic is that it does not use semaglutide. Instead, Saxenda uses liraglutide, the original ingredient for daily injections used in the development of semaglutide medications. Even so, the drug still belongs to the GLP-1 agonist category with semaglutide medications, controlling blood sugar, inulin levels, and digestion.
Mounjaro is the most recent and different from the previous medications. Mounjaro uses another insulin-producing drug, tirzepatide, and is the first medication to treat type 2 diabetes while activating two hormones: GLP-1 and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). Its production of GLP-1 still makes it a weekly injection despite these differences. Though it was approved by the FDA as a type 2 diabetes medication in May 2022, no such approval has been given yet to make it a weight loss treatment despite promising clinical trials.
Novo Nordisk & Eli Lilly
Novo Nordisk has been the only FDA-approved semaglutide provider in the US. They manufacture Ozempic, Wegovy, Rybelsus, and Saxenda, while their direct competitor, Eli Lilly, produces Mounjaro. While these are only two companies, both are pharmaceutical titans spearheading the obesity market to a projected $50 billion industry.
In the first quarter of 2023, Eli Lilly reported that Mounjaro contributed $569 million in sales with the drug on the verge of FDA approval to treat obesity and saw Lilly reach the top market spot with a cap of $420 billion. Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk reported second-quarter 2023 profits of 24 billion Danish kroner or $3.5 billion in US dollars. GLP-1 drugs could bring in more than $150 billion in annual worldwide sales through their use in diabetes and obesity treatment by 2031.
Both companies are the defendants in this mass tort litigation, with victims alleging they knew their medications would cause severe gastrointestinal injuries. These injuries have seen thousands hospitalized with medical bills for present and potentially future care. As more victims come forward about their injuries and hold these companies accountable, the more likely it becomes for Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly to settle in the future.
A number of injuries have been linked to medications produced by Novo Nordisk and Eli Lily, most of which require hospitalization due to their severity. The known injuries are:
- Bowel Obstruction
- New Suicidal Thoughts/Ideation
- Persistent Vomiting
- Surgical Gallbladder Removal
Although this mass tort is in its infancy, victims can still come forward and qualify for legal counsel. The Guardian Legal Network can help you pursue the justice you deserve.
How GLN Can Help You
The Guardian Legal Network has helped 200,000 people connect with legal counsel experienced in their case types. We may be able to do the same for you and hold Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly accountable for changing your life and many others. It takes just 15 minutes to see if you qualify for potential compensation.
Contact us and take action today.
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