The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation refused to consolidate lawsuits alleging Eisai Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s weight loss drug Belviq causes cancer, saying too few suits have been filed since the drug was recalled.
The panel said that even though it’s been 18 months since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked to take the drug off the market, only a small number of suits have been filed, often by the same lawyers. And while those who favor consolidation argue the litigation will ultimately grow into the thousands, at the moment there are at most 20 suits/
There were 12 individual personal injury suits and one proposed class action before the panel alleging that Belviq’s active ingredient causes cancer. The range of alleged cancers also weighed against centralization.
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.
A large number of lawsuits isn’t expected because the drug wasn’t heavily used.
A group of seven plaintiffs led by a woman named Stephanie Fuller asked the JPML to centralize the suits in April 2021.