Benicar (olmesartan) is a widely-used prescription medication approved for the treatment of high blood pressure and hypertension. Manufactured by Japanese pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo, Benicar is one of the most-prescribed drugs in its class, with doctors prescribing it to more than 11 million patients each year.
Despite the medication's popularity, it's been linked to a wide variety of severe side effects and complications, including life-threatening gastrointestinal illnesses that can cause malabsorption and unexplained weight loss.
Experiencing such side effects and complications prompted numerous former Benicar patients to file lawsuits against Daiichi Sankyo. However, one such plaintiff saw his dreams for a sizable settlement go down in flames when the presiding U.S. district court judge blocked his Benicar illness and weight loss lawsuit from proceeding. The case highlights the importance of filing a personal injury lawsuit in a timely manner, and having knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel by your side when you do.
As of March 2017, there are approximately 2,000 Benicar lawsuits pending in United States courts. Due to the large number of cases, Benicar lawsuits were consolidated into multi-district legislation in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey with Judge Robert B. Kugler.
In his role overseeing the multi-district litigation, Judge Kugler reviews individual Benicar cases and determines whether the case will be remanded back to state court to proceed. With regard to the case in question, Judge Kugler found that the plaintiff had insufficient evidence for the claims of his lawsuit. As a result, Judge Kugler blocked the case, preventing it from being sent back to state court in Texas, where the lawsuit was originally filed.
Benicar and Sprue-Like Enteropathy
Benicar, an angiotensin II receptor antagonist, isn't the only drug of its kind on the market. However, it's the only one that's been linked to sprue-like enteropathy—a serious gastrointestinal condition that causes:
- Severe, chronic diarrhea
- Malabsorption of nutrients
- Unexplained weight loss that can result in hospitalization
- Serious secondary complications, like infections
In extreme cases, sprue-like enteropathy can even cause death.
For many patients, sprue-like enteropathy can feel like a ticking time bomb. Recovery is strongly dependent on the doctor diagnosing the disease correctly and treating it quickly. However, because the symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy are so similar to the symptoms of Celiac disease, doctors are more likely to try to rule out that disease before making a sprue-like enteropathy diagnosis.
In addition to Benicar maker Daiichi Sankyo, the Texas plaintiff's medical malpractice lawsuit also named his doctor. Judge Kugler found that the plaintiff failed to provide sufficient evidence to support the claims of medical malpractice. Not only was the plaintiff unable to conclusively show that his injury occurred as a direct result of taking Benicar, but it was revealed that the doctor named in the lawsuit had only treated him once, and had never even prescribed him Benicar.
Statute of Limitations
There's another important reason this particular plaintiff's case was likely dead in the water: it was filed after the statute of limitations had expired. Statute of limitation laws determine how long a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit. In Texas, for medical malpractice lawsuits, this time period is governed by the Texas Medical Liability Act, which gives plaintiffs just two years to take legal action.
The plaintiff in this case didn't file his lawsuit until three years after the statute of limitations had expired.
Are You Considering a Benicar Lawsuit?
If you experienced severe and lift-threatening Benicar side effects, such as sprue-like enteropathy, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for your injuries from the drug's manufacturer, Daiichi Sankyo. Unfortunately, as this particular case shows, filing a lawsuit isn't enough to ensure a settlement. Working closely with a seasoned personal injury attorney can help ensure that you have a strong case that's filed on time and includes the relevant evidence.
Contact McGartland Law today to schedule a free appointment to discuss the details of your potential Benicar lawsuit with a member of our skilled legal team.