Benicar Lawsuits Continue to Grow

November 4, 2014

On June 17, 2014, California resident Susanne Ambler and her husband filed a lawsuit against Daichi Sankyo for injuries Ms. Ambler suffered while taking Benicar, a product manufactured by Daiichi Sankyo. Benicar was approved by the FDA in 2002 for use in the treatment of hypertension. According to court filings, Ambler claims that she suffered sprue-like enteropathy symptoms which resulted in numerous hospitalizations. Her case was transferred to federal court with a final pretrial conference scheduled for December of this year.

In Texas, another Benicar lawsuit was filed by George Williams against Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories, Inc. in the Superior Court of New Jersey for Atlantic County. The case was then removed to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Like Ms. Ambler, Mr, Wiliams suffered sprue-like enteropathy symptoms and was hospitalized over 100 days over a four-year span. In addition to suffering from enteropathy, Mr. Williams is alleged to have developed villous atrophy that ultimately required the placement of a feeding tube. Mr. Williams claims that the use of Benicar and/or the use of steroids in the treatment caused him to get cataracts. Williams also suffered a compression fracture to his spine related to being prescribed Benicar.

New Jersey resident Christy Brooks also filed a claim against Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratory, Inc. in the New Jersey courts for injuries she suffered from her use of Benicar. Similar to other victims of Benicar, because the side effects of Benicar may not appear in a user for months to years after initiating use, her doctors could not connect her mystery illness with her use of Benicar. They only made the connection when the FDA forced Daiichi Sankyo to include warnings in 2012 for the side effect of sprue-like enteropathy and in 2013 for the side effect of villous atrophy.

Ohio resident Brenda Baugh filed suit seeking damages for her injuries resulting from the use of Benicar on October 15th of this year. Baugh was hospitalized multiple times for the symptoms that are now known to be linked to the use of Benicar. Baugh’s suit was filed in Federal District Court in the Northern District of Ohio. Baugh was repeatedly misdiagnosed due to her physician’s lack of knowledge regarding the connection between Benicar and the symptoms she displayed.

Each plaintiff in these suits suffered similar injuries that are consistent with those found in research published by the Mayo Clinic in 2012. Those symptoms include sprue-like enteropathy including chronic diarrhea, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, as well as several forms of colitis. These symptoms have occurred long-term in the plaintiffs in these lawsuits, resulting in malnutrition and dehydration. The Mayo Clinic released additional research in 2013 that found the long-term occurrences of these symptoms also lead to villous atrophy, a permanent condition, which is characterized by damage to the villi in the intestinal tract which absorbs nutrients and causes malnutrition.

Unfortunately, the symptoms that people experience from injuries caused by Benicar use are often misdiagnosed as celiac disease. In these cases, the patient can suffer long-term damage. In some cases, the symptoms may subside after discontinuuing the use of Benicar.

Approximately 45 million people in the United States are being treated for hypertension. Currently, there are numerous cases pending across the country in state and federal district courts. With 1.9 million prescriptions for Benicar documented to date, that number is expected to grow.

Toni Kohlbeck, Intern Jacoby & Meyers, LLC.