For more information or confidential assistance
Call 516.741.5600

Benicar Lawsuits

US-Supreme-CourtLitigation concerning blood pressure medication Benicar (olmesartan) is entering a new phase as growing numbers of plaintiffs are alleging that the drug has subjected them to severe and dangerous side effects, including chronic diarrhea, dramatic weight loss, malnutrition and potentially deadly dehydration. First granted approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002, Benicar quickly gained widespread acceptance, with millions of prescriptions being written annually.

However, due to the recent onslaught of data regarding its allegedly life-altering impact on patients, many individuals are now considering legal action against Benicar’s makers, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. and Forest Laboratories.

Serious Benicar side effects

As its popularity continued to escalate, Benicar soon became the subject of a growing chorus of complaints from patients who believe their use of the medication caused them to suffer severe gastrointestinal effects including:

  • Sprue-like enteropathy
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Malabsorption of nutrients/malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Lymphocytic colitis
  • Microscopic colitis
  • Collagenous colitis

In many such patients, the severity of Benicar side effects necessitated lengthy hospitalizations and extended recovery times. Making matters worse, many patients who presented with the sprue-like enteropathy many suspect was caused by Benicar initially received a diagnosis of Celiac disease. The misdiagnosis experienced by such patients resulted in unnecessary treatment delays which extended their suffering and increased their risk of permanent damage to the intestines.

Common allegations in Benicar lawsuits

Patient data from the Mayo Clinic and from the FDA’s own adverse event reporting records began to strengthen the argument that Benicar was indeed causing patients to suffer serious gastrointestinal side effects, and in 2013, the agency required a labeling change to alert consumers to the potential risk. As a result, Benicar lawyers nationwide began the process of reviewing cases in which individual patients battled sprue-like enteropathy after having taken the drug for high blood pressure.

Plaintiffs are now asserting that Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories negligently marketed and sold a product that without adequate clinical testing, misrepresented the safety of the drug, released a defectively designed and manufactured product onto the market and breached express and implied warranties of fitness. Many individuals filing suit against the drug maker assert that they would never have taken Benicar had they known of its risks, and would have instead chosen numerous alternative hypertension medications available to them.

Compensation available to plaintiffs

The side effects alleged by Benicar plaintiffs include illnesses that are not merely disruptive or inconvenient, but in many cases, life-threatening. Drastic loss of body weight, severe dehydration and malabsorption of key nutrients combined with chronic diarrhea all have the potential to produce lasting  incapacitation.

As a result, those filing Benicar lawsuits are seeking compensation for:

  • Past, present and future medical bills
  • Therapy or rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Funeral expenses, where necessary

In addition to recovering monetary compensation for the discomfort, disruption and emotional upheaval they have experienced, many Benicar plaintiffs have a strongly-held desire to hold the drug’s manufacturer accountable for the harm caused and for its blatant disregard for the safety of the public at large.

Benicar MDL and consolidation in NJ Superior Court

As further evidence that Benicar litigation is rapidly gaining steam nationwide, on April 3 of this year, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation agreed to consolidate current and future federal lawsuits pertaining to the drug in the District of New Jersey before Judge Robert B. Kugler. The purpose of this multidistrict litigation (MDL) is to centralize pretrial proceedings in Benicar cases comprised of similar arguments, fact patterns and legal theories.

Doing so allows for consistency in pretrial rulings, efficiencies in the discovery process and facilitation of large-scale settlements. Though Benicar cases from around the country will be part of the MDL, they will still be treated individually for purposes of possible settlement or eventual trial in their original districts. So-called “bellwether” trials will eventually be held in which a few hand-selected cases with facts and arguments common to many pending lawsuits will be heard. This is to provide the parties with a strong indication of how juries are likely to react to their respective positions and to assess whether a Benicar settlement of remaining claims is likely to occur.

In addition, an another 40 claims have been consolidated in the Superior Court of New Jersey under the supervision of Judge Nelson Johnson. This development was cited in the federal panel’s order establishing the Benicar MDL in the District of New Jersey as being likely to result in beneficial coordination. Because New Jersey is home to the U.S. headquarters of Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories, the influx of litigation in the state should come as no surprise.

Future of Benicar litigation

Given the immense popularity of Benicar as a treatment for hypertension for more than ten years, the number of plaintiffs with the potential to allege serious gastrointestinal harm is quite sizable. Product liability lawyers across the country continue to interview individuals who suspect their diagnoses of sprue-like enteropathy and GI complications were the direct result of Benicar use. Bolstering that suspicion is the commonly-observed phenomenon of dramatic improvement in gastrointestinal symptoms once the use of Benicar ceased.

Following the recent establishment of an MDL to manage current and future Benicar lawsuit filings, it stands to reason that the number of plaintiffs in this wave of dangerous drug litigation could grow into the thousands before all is said and done.

  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Olmesartan (marketed as Benicar) Information,

  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA approves label changes to include intestinal problems (sprue-like enteropathy) linked to blood pressure medicine olmesartan medoxomil,

  3. United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, In Re: Benicar (Olmesartan) Products Liability Litigation – Transfer Order,