$300 Million Settlement in Benicar Litigation Reached

Benicar blood pressure

On August 1, 2017, a $300 million settlement was reached in the multidistrict Benicar litigation against Daiichi Sankyo Inc. and Forest Laboratories Inc. The settlement offers financial compensation to individuals who suffered chronic diarrhea and other gastrointestinal injuries after using Benicar, Azor or Tribenzor.

This agreement should resolve around 2,300 lawsuits filed in both federal and state U.S. courts. However, the settlement does not mean that Daiichi Sankyo has admitted any liability; the company believes a settlement is in the “best interests of all.”

Benicar Settlement

In a case management order [PDF] issued August 1, 2017, the judge indicated that the parties have reached a Master Settlement Agreement to resolve claims for certain injuries that resulted from the use of Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, or Tribenzor prior to May 2015.

Details of the settlement have been made available on an Olmesartan Products Resolution website. Claims must have been filed by August 23 to be eligible for the settlement.

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Benicar Litigation Background

Lawsuits filed claim that the popular blood pressure medication, Benicar, caused severe and sometimes life-threatening gastrointestinal injuries

The complaints involved similar allegations claiming the makers of the drug designed it in a defective manner and failed to adequately warn users and the medical community about the significant side effects such as the risk of chronic diarrhea, nausea, malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss and other gastrointestinal problems.

For the past two years all federal litigation has been centralized before U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler in the District of New Jersey as part of a multi-district litigation.

The Issue with Benicar

Benicar, manufactured by Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., quickly became one of the most commonly used blood pressure drugs; over 11 million people across the U.S. have been prescribed Benicar to treat blood pressure.

11 million people across the U.S. have been prescribed Benicar to treat blood pressure. Click To Tweet

In 2002, the FDA approved Benicar’s (also known as Olmesartan) use for hypertension because it lowers blood pressure, improves the flow of blood and keeps blood vessels from narrowing.

Benicar has been linked to a gastrointestinal condition known as sprue-like enteropathy, which may not develop until months or years after starting use of the drug. It often requires hospitalization and patients typically have an endoscopy with biopsy to determine the extent of the damage to the small intestine.

Studies have shown Benicar’s side effects include serious gastrointestinal issues such as:

  • Villous atrophy
  • Sprue-like enteropathy
  • Colitis
  • Kidney failure
  • Malabsorption
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting/nausea
  • Abdominal pain

In 2013, the FDA ordered the pharmaceutical companies to include a warning about the risk of an intestinal condition known as sprue-like enteropathy to the drug’s label.

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Case: In Re: Benicar (Olmesartan) Products Liability Litigation, Case Number 2606 in the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.

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