Ozempic Serious Side Effects Not Disclosed by Drug Maker: Lawsuit

Pharmaceutical giants Novo Nordisk and Eli Lily are facing a wave of lawsuits across the United States. The plaintiffs, who are users of the companies’ diabetes and weight loss drugs such as Ozempic, Wegovy, and others, allege that they were not adequately warned about potential severe side effects. These include stomach paralysis and gallbladder damage severe enough to necessitate removal in some cases.

The lawsuits are so numerous that they have been centralized in a multidistrict litigation proceeding before a federal judge in Pennsylvania. The injectable drugs at the center of these allegations, known as “GLP-1 agonists,” have been used by patients in states including Arizona, Illinois, North Carolina, and Texas.

Novo Nordisk has responded to the allegations, stating that the lawsuits lack merit. The company plans to defend against these claims vigorously. They expressed satisfaction with the decision to centralize the litigation before U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush.

The company emphasized its commitment to patient safety and its close collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to continuously monitor the safety profile of their medicines. They pointed out that GLP-1 medicines have been used to treat type 2 diabetes for over 18 years and obesity for 8 years. They also highlighted the extensive examination of their products in robust clinical development programs and large real-world evidence studies.

However, the plaintiffs argue that the companies failed to properly disclose gastrointestinal risks, including a condition known as “gastroparesis” or stomach paralysis. They claim that the drug labels only describe the drug’s mechanism of action and do not disclose gastroparesis as a risk or a chronic condition that can result from taking the drugs.

One plaintiff, Paulsen Bronston, a diabetic man from Arizona, reported that he started experiencing extreme diarrhea after he began taking Ozempic. His condition worsened, leading to the removal of his gallbladder. Other plaintiffs report severe distress and permanent injuries, along with significant medical expenses.

The cases before Judge Pratter involve allegations from at least 50 people. As the popularity of these drugs continues to rise, more complaints are expected in the coming weeks and months. One attorney reportedly represents 2,000 people complaining of unforeseen side effects from the drugs.

Novo Nordisk produces Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus, while Eli Lily makes Trulicity and Mounajro. Eli Lily has yet to comment on the allegations.