Consumers urged the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to group lawsuits alleging that Eisai Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s recalled diet drug Belviq causes cancer, saying that just because there are different types of cancers alleged doesn’t mean the cases can’t be consolidated.
The issue of general causation was still a question that would occur throughout the cases. The cases are also growing and require consolidation to avoid inconsistent rulings and duplicative discovery.
Belviq was taken off the market in February 2020 after clinical studies showed an increase of cancer in patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had requested its removal and Eisai agreed.
Arena won approval of the drug in 2012 and Eisai acquired it in 2016. It was the first time the FDA had approved a weight-loss drug since 1999. The company opposes centralization.