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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 can cause stomach paralysis and severe vomiting.
Morgan & Morgan, a personal injury law firm, on Wednesday said it had filed a case on behalf of a 44-year-old woman from Louisiana who suffered such severe vomiting after taking the drugs Ozempic and Mounjaro that she was hospitalised and lost teeth.
The firm said it has signed up 400 clients who claim that after taking these drugs they contracted gastroparesis — a disorder that slows or stops movements of food from the stomach to the small intestine and causes 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, with Wall Street analysts forecasting they could generate a market worth $50bn by 2030.
Paul Pennock, a lawyer at Morgan, said the drugs had caused debilitating and disabling injuries to the firm’s clients, who had not been adequately warned by Lilly and Novo about the dangers of gastroparesis.
He said: “Many people are experiencing constant vomiting. I don’t mean once a week, I mean every day, all the time. I mean, so bad that these people are going to the emergency room for their vomiting.”
Morgan said it had signed up clients from 45 US states and expected the litigation would eventually involve thousands of cases nationwide.
Novo Nordisk told the Financial Times 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 patients take these medications 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 our medicines.”
Court documents show the claim was filed by Morgan on behalf of Jaclyn Bjorklund in a federal court in Louisiana.
Personal injury lawsuits are common in the US, some of which can turn into mass torts, whereby multiple plaintiffs seek compensation for harms or injuries caused by third parties. Johnson & Johnson is fighting a bruising battle over tens of thousands of claims its talcum powder caused cancer.