Benicar is a widely prescribed medication for blood pressure and hypertension (chronic high blood pressure). Olmesartan is the active ingredient of Benicar and is also contained in Benicar HCT, Tribenzor, and Azor.
Lieff Cabraser attorney Lexi Hazam has been appointed by the court overseeing lawsuits relating to these drugs nationwide to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, and serves as Co-Chair of the Plaintiffs’ Science and Experts Committee. She has also spoken at several legal conferences on injuries caused by these drugs. Here are her answers to the several of the most frequent questions asked by patients and family members about the lawsuits:
1) What are the most serious side effects linked to Benicar?
Patients taking Benicar, Benicar HCT, Tribenzor, and Azor have experienced serious side effects, including:
- severe, chronic diarrhea, and vomiting with substantial weight loss;
- sprue-like enteropathy;
- villous atrophy; and
- lymphocytic, collagenous, and/or microscopic colitis.
Sprue-like enteropathy and villous atrophy are both conditions involving destruction of the intestinal lining that are characterized by severe, chronic diarrhea, malabsorption/malnutrition, and substantial weight loss. These conditions often result in repeat hospitalizations and in some cases cause secondary complications such as renal failure, anemia, and osteoporosis. The conditions can develop months to years after starting use of these drugs.
Patients with gastrointestinal problems induced by these drugs are often misdiagnosed with celiac disease or other disorders.
2) Has Benicar been recalled?
No. Benicar, Benicar HCT, Tribenzor, and Azor are still on the market. In July 2013, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required the addition of warnings regarding the risk of sprue-like enteropathy and villous atrophy to the drug labels of Benicar, Benicar HCT, Tribenzor, and Azor.
3) If the drug has not been recalled, can I still bring a lawsuit for the injuries from Benicar that I suffered?
Yes. No matter whether or not a drug has been recalled by government safety regulators, patients may bring a civil suit for the injuries they suffered.
Under the law, pharmaceutical companies must only sell drugs that are effective and do not expose the patients to risks exceeding the benefits of the drug. These companies must also adequately test their drugs prior to introducing them to the market and warn patients and doctors of all serious side effects.
4) What evidence is there that the maker of Benicar violated its duties to patients and sold a dangerous and defective drug?
The Benicar lawsuits charge that Daiichi Sankyo, the maker of Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, and Tribenzor; and Forest Laboratories, a company that promoted the drugs in the U.S., marketed the drugs as safe and effective for the treatment of hypertension and other medical conditions without sufficiently testing the prescription drugs or providing adequate instructions and warnings to apprise physicians and patients of the increased risks associated with the drugs.
In addition, the lawsuits charge that Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories were aware that long-term use of these drugs was likely to cause severe gastrointestinal injuries, sprue-like enteropathy, villous atrophy, and other serious and, in some cases, life-threatening diseases.
5) How soon must I hire an attorney?
If you or a loved one were just suffered a serious complication from taking Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, or Tribenzor, you should not feel pressured to make an immediate decision about hiring an attorney. Focusing on restoring your health should take precedence over liability issues at this difficult time.
However, keep in mind that each state imposes a deadline for filing lawsuits. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations, which in certain states is one year from the date of the injury.
Contact Lieff Cabraser
If you or a family member have suffered serious complications after being prescribed Benicar, Benicar HCT, Tribenzor or Azor, you may be eligible to file a claim. Please click here and complete the contact form at the bottom of the page for a free and prompt evaluation of your case, with no obligation on your part. Or call Lieff Cabraser attorney Lexi Hazam toll-free at 1 800 541-7358.