Receive free Pharmaceuticals sector updates
We’ll send you one myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the most recent one Pharmaceutical sector news every morning.
Drugmakers Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly are facing a possible wave of personal injury lawsuits over claims they failed to warn patients their blockbuster diabetes and weight-loss drugs could cause stomach paralysis and severe vomiting.
Morgan & Morgan, a personal injury law firm, said Wednesday it had filed a lawsuit on behalf of a 44-year-old Louisiana woman who suffered such severe vomiting after taking the drugs Ozempic and Mounjaro that she was hospitalized and lost teeth.
The company said it has enrolled 400 clients who claim that after taking these drugs they developed gastroparesis – a disorder that slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine, causing nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
Novo’s Ozempic and Lilly’s Mounjaro are prescribed to treat diabetes. They are part of a new class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists, which are also used to treat weight loss.
The drugs have proved hugely popular in the US, where Wall Street analysts predict they could generate a $50 billion market. USD in 2030.
Paul Pennock, a lawyer at Morgan, said the drugs had caused debilitating and debilitating injuries to the firm’s clients who had not been adequately warned by Lilly and Novo about the dangers of gastroparesis.
He said: “A lot of people experience constant vomiting. I don’t mean once a week, I mean every day, all the time. I mean, so bad that these people go to the emergency room for their vomiting.
Morgan said it had signed up customers from 45 US states and expected the lawsuit to eventually involve thousands of cases nationwide.
Novo Nordisk told the Financial Times that GLP-1 drugs had been on the market for years to treat diabetes, and symptoms of delayed gastric emptying, nausea and vomiting are listed as possible side effects.
Novo said: “Patient safety is of utmost importance to Novo Nordisk. We recommend that patients take these medicines for their approved indications and under the supervision of a healthcare professional.”
Lilly said: “Patient safety is Lilly’s top priority, and we actively engage in monitoring and reporting safety information for all of our medicines.”
Court documents show the claim was filed by Morgan on behalf of Jaclyn Bjorklund in federal court in Louisiana.
Personal injury lawsuits are common in the United States, some of which can become mass torts, where multiple plaintiffs seek compensation for injuries or damages caused by third parties. Johnson & Johnson is fighting an uphill battle over tens of thousands of claims that its talc has caused cancer.