Benicar is prescribed for high blood pressure and is used to help lower blood pressure. It is based on olmesartan and stops blood vessels from narrowing, which lowers the patient’s blood pressure and increases blood flow. It is manufactured by Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. In April 2002, Benicar received clearance from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in American patients.
Benicar Warning and Symptoms
In July 2013, the FDA issued a warning that Benicar and other olmesartan-based blood pressure medications have the potential to cause a severe intestinal condition called sprue-like enteropathy. Symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy include:
- Excessive dehydration
- Severe, chronic diarrhea
- Substantial weight loss
The FDA found that discontinuation of Benicar use resulted in improvement of these symptoms.
In February of 2014, a lawsuit was filed by a Texas man who claims to have suffered severe intestinal complications caused by the side effects of Benicar. Plaintiff George Edward William alleged he had chronic diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, nausea, vomiting and malnutrition that required him to be hospitalized for a total of more than 100 days.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
On October 1, 2014, in New Jersey, the first Benicar wrongful death lawsuit was filed. The complaint, which was filed on behalf of William J. Kuznicki, claims that while taking Benicar in 2012, he developed sprue-like enteropathy which debilitated him and required hospitalization for chronic diarrhea. He lost weight rapidly and died in February 2013.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has centralized lawsuits involving Benicar into one federal court in New Jersey. According to the Transfer Order, “The present number of involved cases and districts is sufficient to warrant centralization, especially given the complexity of the issues involved and the likelihood of at least some foreign discovery.”
The suits claimed Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. designed Benicar in a defective manner and failed to warn users that it could cause chronic diarrhea, nausea, malnutrition, dehydration and weight loss. The suits also included claims against Forest Laboratories, Inc. because it promoted Benicar.
The JPML decided that, because Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. and Forest Laboratories, Inc. are headquartered in New Jersey, many witnesses and relevant documents are likely to be found there. According to the JPML, centralization in New Jersey would also likely facilitate coordination with 40 cases over Benicar and other drugs that have been consolidated in the Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division. The order coordinates 35 lawsuits pending in 23 district courts under Judge Robert B. Kugler in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey (MDL No. 2606).