October 20, 2014

benicar-bottlesLitigation over the blood pressure drug Benicar is beginning to move forward. A U.S. Magistrate Judge recently set a pretrial conference date for plaintiff Susanne Ambler and defendant Daiichi Sankyo, the Japanese global pharmaceutical firm. Following the approval of a joint motion of a protective order, both parties are permitted to begin the discovery process. The pretrial conference is set for December 18, 2015, at which point a trial date will be set for a time in 2016. With the formality of trial set, Benicar victims are getting a glimpse into the future and a reassurance that these cases can be resolved.

The first wrongful death claim alleged to be linked with Benicar has been filed in New Jersey state court. The complaint alleges that, in 2012, William J. Kuznicki began using Benicar to treat high blood pressure and subsequently developed the intestinal disease of, or similar to, sprue-like enteropathy. Kuznicki’s widow has filed the claim.

According to the complaint, the symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy, such as chronic diarrhea, reached a point of severity that required Kuznicki to be hospitalized. Even in the hands of hospital staff, Kuznicki’s ailments only worsened until his body was so weak that he passed away in February 2013.

What serious health issues are associated to be linked with Benicar?

The Kuznicki claim is not the first instance involving a serious Benicar injury. According to a recent case report comprised by the Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Jonestown, Pennsylvania, a woman suffered colon perforation and near-fatal cardiac arrest allegedly due to taking Benicar.

The 52-year-old woman entered the medical facility after battling severe diarrhea and weight loss for about a year. Within a matter of six months she had lost nearly 45 pounds, and was experiencing an average of 20 evacuations daily. While at the medical center the patient went into cardiac arrest, and fortunately was able to be resuscitated. The physicians decided to remove her from olmesartan, or blood pressure medication. A month later the patient had complete resolution of the abdominal discomfort and diarrhea, and was asymptomatic for sprue-like enteropathy.

In 2012, the Mayo Clinic study tested 22 individuals on Benicar medication, to determine whether sprue-like enteropathy was a side effect. After discovering that the use of Benicar was causing sprue-like enteropathy and serious medical issues, the physicians made all 22 individuals discontinue use. The gastrointestinal symptoms of the individuals greatly improved once medication was withheld.

In response to the study, the FDA, in July 2013, listed weight loss and chronic diarrhea as symptoms of Benicar. Consequently, Daiichi Sankyo began printing this warning on their olmesartan medication labels. But for nearly a decade prior to 2013, millions of prescriptions for Benicar were filled, and Daiichi Sankyo did not warn of the dangerous medical side effects of Benicar.

In the wrongful death case, the plaintiff alleges that neither the doctors nor her husband could have been aware that the intestinal symptoms experienced were caused by the use of Benicar. The widow asserts however, that Daiichi Sankyo, the manufacturer of the drug and the defendant in the suit, was aware of the risks and ignored the findings presented in the Mayo Clinic study. The Kuznicki case is the seventh currently pending in New Jersey courts against the Benicar manufacturer.

If you have had a loved one pass away while taking Benicar, or a similar olmesartan drug (e.g., Azor, Tribenzor and Benicar HCT) there is still a possible opportunity to seek justice against Daiichi Sankyo. The serious side effects of Benicar can reach beyond the victim and have a significant emotional impact on surrounding loved ones.

The experienced product liability and injury attorneys of The Cochran Firm, D.C. are actively investigating Benicar claims. If you or someone you love took Benicar and experienced any intestinal side effects, please contact our team of legal professionals. All inquiries are free, confidential, and carry no obligation. Time limits apply for filing Benicar claims, so please contact us as soon as convenient.