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ADA Asks for Data on Diabetes Drugs and Pancreatic Cancer

June 17, 2013 — In an editorial published in the journal Diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has requested raw patient-level data from manufacturers of several drugs so they can hire independent researchers to investigate the risk of diabetes drugs and pancreatic cancer. In the last few years, diabetes drugs in the incretin mimetic class (Januvia, Byetta, Victoza, and more) have become a subject of controversy after numerous studies and case reports found a possible increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

According to Dr. Robert Ratner, Chief Scientific & Medical Officer of the ADA:

“People who are taking these medications, or who may consider taking them, should have the benefit of all that is currently known about their risks and advantages in order to make the best possible decisions about their treatment and care in consultation with their health care providers.”

All incretin mimetic drugs treat type-2 diabetes by influencing a hormone called GLP-1 or inhibiting an enzyme called DPP-4. These drugs also directly target cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. The first incretin mimetic drugs were approved less than a decade ago, and there is little information regarding long-term side effects like pancreatic cancer.

Despite the controversy, diabetes drugs in this class have become incredibly lucrative. Last year, Merck’s Januvia (sitagliptin) made $4.1 billion. Novo Nordisk’s Victoza (liraglutide) made $1.6 billion. Bristol-Myer’s Byetta (exenatide) made nearly $150 million. In total, there are nearly a dozen drugs in this class that all treat type-2 diabetes in a similar way.

As the drugs become more and more popular, experts are raising concerns about new studies. One study, published in Diabetes in March 2013, found a 40% increase in cellular changes (pancreatic duct metaplasia) that could lead to cancer. Furthermore, a study of autopsied pancreases showed evidence of small, pre-cancerous grows called adenomas in patients who were taking an incretin mimetic.

Do I have a Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting diabetes drug induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by pancreatic cancer after taking a new diabetes drug (Januvia, Byetta, Victoza, etc.), you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Drug Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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