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Ozempic Lawsuit Overview

Makers of Ozempic and other semaglutide drugs are facing hundreds of lawsuits throughout the United States. While intended for diabetes management and weight loss, research has linked the drug to increased risk of gastroparesis, stomach paralysis, pancreatitis and bowel obstruction.

Plaintiffs and their Ozempic lawsuit lawyers are seeking monetary compensation through products liability litigation. Victims are continuing to come forward. As of June 2024, cases are in preliminary stages, with new cases being added to multi-district litigation.

What Is the Ozempic Lawsuit About?

The Ozempic lawsuit is about whether the manufacturers of semaglutide drugs created and sold an unreasonably dangerous drug that hurt people. Plaintiffs say that the drugs created an unreasonable risk of gastrointestinal injury – a risk that the drug manufacturers knew about, and that they hid from the public.

What drugs are involved in the Ozempic weight loss lawsuit?

Ozempic might be the best known of the drugs involved in the weight loss lawsuits, but there are several drugs named in litigation. These drugs include:

● Ozempic
● Wegovy
● Rybelsus
● Trulicity
● Mounjaro

Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus are manufactured by Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk. Trulicity and Mounjaro are manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company.

Each individual case names the drug or drugs that the plaintiff took.

What are the issues in the Ozempic lawsuit?

There are three primary issues alleged in the Ozempic lawsuits:

1. Whether the drug companies knew or should have known that their semaglutide drugs could cause gastroparesis and other gastrointestinal issues.

2. Whether the drug companies adequately warned doctors and patients about the dangers of their products.

3. Whether the drug companies made false, misleading, or incomplete statements about safety as they marketed their products.

Overview of the Drug of Ozempic and How It Works

Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk developed the diabetes drug Ozempic. Its purpose is to treat type 2 diabetes.

How do Ozempic and related weight loss drugs work?

Ozempic is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. The drug signals the body that it is not hungry and to stop eating. It is meant to act like the GLP-1 hormone.

When we eat, the body releases the GLP-1 hormone in the intestinal tract. The hormone signals the brain that it is full. When the hormone is present, a person may eat less or stop eating. In diabetes patients, the drugs trigger insulin production and reduce a hormone from the pancreas that increases blood sugar. The drug helps keep the person’s blood sugar level lower, managing their diabetes.

Over time, Novo Nordisk made and marketed three different semaglutide GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs:

● Ozempic – Injected with a pen, approved in 2017
● Rybelsus – Taken by pill, approved in 2019
● Wegovy – Targeted for weight loss patients, in a higher concentration than other forms of semaglutides, approved in 2021

With FDA approval, sales of these weight loss drugs soared. Medicare even began to cover the drug Wegovy in 2024, with some restrictions. There was such a demand for the products that there was a shortage in 2023.

Not a miracle drug after all

At first, manufacturers thought that they had created a miracle drug. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that people taking semaglutide drugs lost up to 15% of their body weight. Novo Nordisk aggressively marketed the drugs, including with consumer-direct marketing campaigns. Influencers on social media touted the benefits, and there were stories of celebrities who had found seemingly effortless success.

However, it soon became clear that there may be serious problems with the drugs. Doctors and researchers began learning that the drugs may cause higher rates of gastroparesis and other gastrointestinal issues. Victims say that when these drugs were marketed to them, they were unaware that they were placing themselves in serious danger.

What’s the problem with Ozempic?

Ozempic and other weight loss drugs may cause higher rates of gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is a medical condition of weakened stomach muscles and intestines. The condition can lead to other problems and complications because the person cannot move food through the body in a
timely manner.

What is gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is delayed gastric emptying of the digestive tract, including the stomach, intestines and bowels. The person has weakened muscles in their stomach and intestines, so they’re not able to digest food at a reasonable pace. The condition can cause several problems
and complications, including:

● Stomach pain
● Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea
● Fatigue
● Vitamin, nutrition deficiencies
● Bloating
● Too many bacteria in the small intestine
● Obstructed intestine or bowel

Gastroparesis can cause discomfort. The condition can be dangerous and life-threatening. Diabetes can mask the symptoms of gastroparesis, making it harder to detect.

Ozempic Lawsuit Case Details

What type of case is the Ozempic lawsuit?

The Ozempic stomach paralysis lawsuit is a tort product liability case, which is not an Ozempic class action lawsuit. The claims have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation. People who were harmed by taking the drug are bringing civil claims, seeking compensation for their monetary damages, physical harm and suffering.

What is the Ozempic lawsuit case number?

The Ozempic gastrointestinal lawsuits are currently joined in Multi-District Litigation In Re: Glucagon-Like Peptide – 1 Receptor Agonists (GLP-1 RAS) Products Liability Litigation, MDL-3094. The cases are joined in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Each individual case that is part of the multi-district litigation proceeds retains its
own individual case number.

Note: Ozempic is also the subject of unrelated multi-district litigation regarding patents (MDL-3038). The cases have been consolidated in a Delaware court. The issues are unrelated to the issues in the defective drug products liability cases.

Who is the judge of the Ozempic multi-district litigation?

District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter was assigned to preside over the Ozempic multidistrict litigation. However, she passed away in May 2024. A new judge will be assigned to the case.

How many cases are a part of the Ozempic lawsuit?

As of June 2024, there are 101 cases pending in the Ozempic lawsuit multi-district litigation. New cases are being added periodically as victims come forward.

Multi-District Litigation – Cases Joined Together for Preliminary Proceedings

The Ozempic lawsuit started as separate lawsuits filed throughout the United States. At first, 18 cases were filed in 11 judicial districts. There were another 37 related cases in 15 districts.

Nine of the original plaintiffs believed that it would make more sense to build their cases together. They thought their cases were similar enough that they should work together for preliminary proceedings. They wanted to work together in discovery, preliminary motions, depositions and evidentiary rulings. On December 1, 2023, they filed a motion to transfer the cases from their respective courts.

On February 5, 2024, the courts agreed and ordered the cases combined for preliminary proceedings in multi-district litigation.

Not everyone wanted the transfer. Some plaintiffs thought that only claims against Novo Nordisk should be combined. The parties opposing MDL didn’t want multiple defendants combined.

However, the court transferred all claims involving similar allegations about GLP-1 RA drugs and whether they cause gastrointestinal issues. The court said that even though the two companies sold drugs with different molecular structures, complete overlap of issues is not required.

Current Status of the Ozempic Weight Loss Litigation

The Ozempic weight loss litigation is in the early stages. As of June 9, 2024, the court has issued four case management orders. These orders direct the parties to do certain things in preliminary proceedings.

Case management order no. 1 – February 15, 2024

● A statement that cases transferred to the court, and cases subsequently transferred to the court, will be subject to the court’s orders.
● Attorneys are directed to review the court’s policies and procedures.
● The court set the date, time and place for the first in-court case conference. The court set aside two hours of court time for the conference.
● Topics to be discussed included selecting plaintiff’s lead counsel, the responsibilities of lead counsel and allocation of tasks. The court said that pleadings, timing, future status conferences and other issues could be discussed.

Case management order no. 2 – February 16, 2024

● Waiving pro hac vice fees in the case.
● Requiring parties to submit the court’s pro hac vice form, if applicable.

Case management order no. 3 – April 23, 2024

● Appointing Liaison Counsel for Plaintiffs, and a mentor.
● Identifying and appointing counsel to the Plaintiff’s Committee.
● Authorizing Committee members to select additional counsel for the Committee, up to 25 total members.
● Allowing the Committee to create subcommittees.
● Ordering the Committee to propose conference dates.

Case management order no. 4 – April 24, 2024

● Requiring the parties to preserve potentially relevant evidence.
● Parties must keep documents, data and tangible things in their presence that are relevant to the claims and defenses in the case.
● Each party must take reasonable steps to avoid loss of the evidence. Auto-delete features must be disabled.
● Certain sources don’t need to be preserved, searched or produced from.
● Keeping evidence or information is not an agreement or concession that the material is relevant to litigation.

There have been other filings in the case. These filings are procedural, like asking the court for additional time to respond to the motion to transfer the cases to multi-district litigation and required proof of service documents.

The court held a status conference on March 14, 2024. Preliminary proceedings will continue, after which the court may schedule bellwether trials. These early trials inform the parties as to how cases may be decided if they go to trial.

Basis of a Claim

The decisions that people make about their medical care may impact the rest of their lives. The choices that people make about their healthcare should be informed.

A critical basis for the Ozempic lawsuit is the claim that the drug manufacturer failed to warn consumers about the risks of the drugs. Some claims allege that the warning label was too generic, listing minor symptoms but saying too little about gastrointestinal issues, and not
emphasizing the dangers enough.

Many patients saw the direct-to-consumer marketing campaigns, including $180.2 million spent to market the drug in 2022. Marketing efforts for Rybelsus were similarly robust in 2022, at $167.2 million spent. Much of the marketing budget was spent on national television ads.

The marketing worked, and sales climbed high that year. Novo Nordisk credited the marketing effort for its 36% revenue growth in North America in 2022.

Consumers say that with marketing efforts this strong, they had the right to complete information before taking Ozempic or another semaglutide drug.

U.S. products liability law and the Ozempic case

In the United States, drug manufacturers have a legal liability to make products that are reasonably safe. Product liability is the type of case that a victim may bring if they are harmed by a dangerous drug. One of the ways that a drug can be dangerous is if the public doesn’t have the information that they need about the risks and potential harm.

A claim may also be based on misleading statements in advertising. The lawsuits say that the drug manufacturer proclaimed the benefits of the drugs without emphasizing the potential risks. Plaintiffs say that the advertising campaigns were deficient enough that the drug companies
should be liable for damages.

Damages for Ozempic Lawsuit

The purpose of the Ozempic lawsuit is to compensate victims. A person who develops gastroparesis likely has significant losses due to medical expenses. They may have physical suffering.

Damages claimed may include economic and non-economic losses. Valuing damages is an important part of any case.

Proving an Ozempic Legal Claim

While you can file an Ozempic lawsuit, to succeed in an Ozempic lawsuit, a person must prove:

● They took Ozempic or a related drug.
● The drug was defective under legal standards.
● Because of taking the drug, the victim developed medical problems. There is causation between using the drug and the harm that occurred.
● Damages resulted to the victim including medical bills, other financial losses, physical pain, suffering and other damages.

Novo Nordisk is aggressively fighting claims. They have responded to the allegations and will be fighting the claims in the months to come. The parties will continue to discuss medical evidence and pursue their respective positions.

Justice for Ozempic Victims

Ozempic lawsuits are still in the early stages. New plaintiffs are continuing to join, and the cases are moving through preliminary proceedings. The court will schedule future dates as the parties develop their cases, pursue settlement and prepare for trial.

Oberheiden P.C. © 2024
by: Dr. Nick Oberheiden of Oberheiden P.C.

For more news on Ozempic Lawsuits, visit the NLR Products Liability section.

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