Global pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., agreed in January 2015
to pay a whopping $39 million to state Medicaid programs and the United
States. Headquartered in New Jersey, Daiichi Sankyo’s payment will
resolve allegations that the company violated the U.S. False Claims Act.
Daiichi is accused of paying kickbacks to physicians to persuade them
to prescribe their drugs, including Benicar, Azor, Tribenzor and Welchol.
U.S. laws prohibit any payment to a physician which seeks to influence
a doctor’s prescribing decisions. The Department of Justice, believing
those decisions should be objective and independent, works hard to ensure
the medical judgment of a physician is never compromised by improper gifts
Anti-Kickback Statute Violated
The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits representatives of companies—or
anyone, for that matter—from offering or paying money to induce
doctors to prescribe drugs covered by federal health care programs such
as Medicare and Medicaid. The Wall Street Journal reported speaking fees
were paid to physicians even when they “spoke” only to their
own spouse or office staff about the benefits of one or more of the company’s
drugs. Daiichi also agreed to enter into a corporate integrity agreement
with the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
How Benicar Works
Between 2002 and 2008, Daiichi Sankyo spent nearly $1 billion to promote
Benicar, claiming the drug was superior to all other drugs in its class
for safety and effectiveness. Benicar is used to treat high blood pressure,
gaining FDA approval in 2002. Over the past few years, more than eleven
million prescriptions per year have been written for Benicar which works
by keeping blood vessels open. Benicar contains the ingredient Olmesartan,
an angiotensin II receptor blocker. Angiotensin II naturally increases
blood pressure by narrowing the blood vessels, and Olmesartan inhibits
Dangers Associated With Benicar
Benicar has been found to cause severe intestinal issues, including a disease
known as sprue-like enteropathy which causes severe, chronic diarrhea
and substantial weight loss. With this disorder, the lining of the intestines
can lose its natural texture, making it extremely difficult for the body
to absorb nutrients. Malnutrition and other digestive issues can result.
Daiichi and the FDA did not issue a warning to doctors until July 2013
regarding these potential digestive risks.
Many people injured by Benicar filed lawsuits soon after the FDA warning
was released and patients became aware of where the problems came from.
To date, nearly 1000 lawsuits have been filed in New Jersey State and Federal
Courts claiming consumers of the various Benicar drugs have suffered severe
Additional Benicar Side Effects
In addition to the gastrointestinal disorders caused by Benicar, other
side effects include an irregular heartbeat, skin rashes, abdominal and
chest pain, chronic vomiting, renal and liver disorders, arthritis symptoms
and rapid swelling of the skin. Benicar currently contains a black box
warning for fetal toxicity, meaning pregnant women should never take the
drug. Although the FDA required Daiichi to add warnings regarding gastrointestinal
disorders, the drug has not been recalled. If you have suffered injury
due to taking Benicar, it could be beneficial to contact an experienced
Philadelphia class action attorney to weigh the facts of your case and
lay out your options.
Contact Our National Benicar Lawsuit Attorneys
If you have been diagnosed with sprue-like enteropathy or GI complications
after using Benicar, your injuries may be the result of a drug manufacturer's
negligence. To learn more about your legal options or to schedule a free
consultation call the
Philadelphia class action lawyers at Golomb & Honik today at
1-800-355-3300 or 1-215-985-9177 or fill out our confidential
The national dangerous drug lawyers at Golomb & Honik have successfully
represented individuals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and
throughout the United States.