If you have high blood pressure, you’re in good company. More than 100 million Americans—which equates to nearly half of the adult population—have hypertension. Since the condition increases the risk of heart attack and stroke if left unchecked, those who have it should seek treatment. Recently, however, it’s become apparent that one of the most popular high blood pressure medications can do more harm than good.
Initially hailed as an exceptional way to manage hypertension, Benicar was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002. Unfortunately, in the years since, it’s become clear that the formula’s risks could outweigh its benefits.
An angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB), Benicar can cause a host of gastrointestinal issues, the most serious of which being sprue-like enteropathy. Characterized by chronic diarrhea, significant weight loss, and villous atrophy, this side effect may not develop for months or even years. When it eventually does, however, the associated complications can be life-threatening.
After the FDA confirmed that medications containing olmesartan, like Benicar, contributed to sprue-like enteropathy in 2014, affected patients started taking action. Daiichi Sankyo, Benicar’s manufacturer, and Forest Laboratories, the drug’s co-promotor, have agreed to spend $300 million compensating almost 2,000 claimants for the damages they incurred as a result of taking the drug.
If you or someone you love has developed gastrointestinal complications and you think Benicar is to blame, your family may have grounds for legal action. To determine how best to proceed, contact a licensed attorney in your area. Since most reputable personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis and offer free, no-obligation consultations, you’ve got nothing to lose by scheduling an initial case review. Fill out our form to get started.
- What Is Benicar?
- What Should I Do if I Have Been Affected by Benicar?
- How Do I Know if I Qualify to Be Part of a Benicar Lawsuit?
- How Does a Benicar Lawsuit Work?
- Do I Need Legal Counsel to Join a Benicar Lawsuit?
- How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Benicar Lawsuit?
- What Is the Statute of Limitations on Benicar Lawsuits?
- How Much Compensation Can You Get by Filing a Benicar Lawsuit?
- How Long Does It Take to Get Your Money After Your Suit Has Been Resolved?
- Final Thoughts
What Is Benicar?
Benicar is the brand name for omlesartan medoxomil tablets, which are taken orally to combat hypertension. This medication works by blocking angiotensin II, a natural chemical that raises blood pressure by narrowing the blood vessels. Benicar can be prescribed both alone and in conjunction with other drugs to treat hypertension in patients over the age of 5.
Available in 5, 20, and 40 mg dosages, these pills were aggressively promoted between 2002 and 2008. During that time, the manufacturer spent $1 billion on marketing materials. Since these materials omitted the drug’s most serious risks—a violation of federal regulations—Benicar quickly became a top seller. Daiichi Sankyo has also been accused of giving physicians “kickbacks” for prescribing Benicar, which undoubtedly contributed to its soaring popularity.
Developed in 1995 by Daiichi Sankyo, Benicar was approved for use in the United States by the FDA in 2002. In 2013, however, the FDA issued a warning that the olmesartan medoxomil formula can cause gastrointestinal complications.
Called sprue-like enteropathy, symptoms are similar to those of Celiac disease. Whereas maintaining a gluten-free diet can generally prevent health issues for people with Celiac disease, however, eliminating gluten will have no effect on gastrointestinal distress caused by Benicar. The only way to stop symptoms is to stop taking the drug. Naturally, this has resulted in a host of lawsuits against Daiichi Sankyo on the grounds of product liability.
Researchers Begin Linking Benicar to Gastrointestinal Issues
As Benicar became increasingly more popular—no doubt due to the manufacturer’s ambitious marketing campaign—a pattern of gastrointestinal distress among those taking it became apparent. Affected patients experienced symptoms ranging from abdominal pain and bloating to vomiting and chronic diarrhea.
After reviewing 23 cases of sprue-like enteropathy associated with taking Benicar, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication about the risks the drug posed; however, Benicar has yet to be taken off the market because the complications appear to affect only a small percentage of those who take it.
Of course, as long as Benicar is still available for prescription, Daiichi Sankyo will be exposed to further litigation. If you or someone you love became seriously ill while taking Benicar, fill out our form to connect with a lawyer and see if your family has grounds for a claim.
Patients Begin Filing Benicar Lawsuits
A Texas man named George Williams was one of the first people to take action against Daiichi Sankyo because of Benicar-related complications. While taking the drug, Williams was hospitalized more than 10 times for more than 100 days combined over a four-year period. Since none of his physicians determined the olmesartan medoxomil formula was to blame, he continued taking his blood pressure medication during this time.
Williams’s condition became so severe that he eventually had to be fed through a tube. And because he suffered permanent intestinal damage, he required a feeding tube even after stopping the drug. What’s more, the chronic diarrhea he experienced contributed to a compression fracture in his back. Additionally, he developed cataracts in both eyes because of the steroids he was prescribed to treat his “mystery ailment.”
Williams’s claim alleged Daiichi Sankyo failed to conduct sufficient testing during the drug’s clinical trial phase. He also alleged the manufacturer knew or should have known about the gastrointestinal risks associated with the medication and failed to inform the public. As such, he sued on the grounds of defective design, strict liability, failure to warn, gross negligence, fraudulent concealment, and violation of consumer protection laws, among other grounds. Thousands of other patients have since taken action against Daiichi Sankyo for the damages they incurred as a result of taking Benicar.
Verdicts & Settlements Awarded
Daiichi Sankyo has reached two major settlements regarding Benicar thus far. The first, for $300 million, was for almost 2,000 patients combined. The second, for $39 million, was to resolve allegations that the manufacturer violated the False Claims Act. In the complaint, Daiichi Sankyo was accused of giving physicians kickbacks for prescribing a number of their medications, which included Benicar. As of late 2019, more than 100 pending suits remained in a multidistrict litigation in New Jersey, which is where the Japanese company’s U.S. headquarters is located.
If you would like to take action against Daiichi Sankyo, consult a legal professional in your home state. A resourceful personal injury attorney can investigate the circumstances surrounding your claim to help you determine how to proceed. To find a reputable lawyer near you, complete our contact form.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Affected by Benicar?
If you or someone you love suffered serious complications—or sustained irreversible gastrointestinal damage—as a result of taking Benicar, it’s important to act fast. Not only do you have a limited amount of time to file a formal lawsuit, but evidence that may end up being integral to your case could be time sensitive.
Your primary concern, however, should be your health. Seek prompt medical care if you’re still experiencing complications, and follow your doctor’s orders once you do. In addition to ensuring a better prognosis, arranging for timely treatment will demonstrate a commitment to mitigating damages, which will contribute to the strength of your suit.
How Do I Know if I Qualify to Be Part of a Benicar Lawsuit?
If you developed gastrointestinal issues while taking Benicar and they were not attributed to any underlying health conditions, you may be eligible for compensation for all associated damages.
In order to recover a payout, though, you’ll have to prove that you suffered complications as a direct result of taking the medication, despite doing so as prescribed.
You’ll also have to prove that you incurred actual damages as a result. Thankfully, most personal injury firms offer free case evaluations, so victims have nothing to lose by reaching out.
If it turns out you do have grounds for a claim, take the following steps to give your case the best chance of success:
- Save all relevant medical records
- Write detailed journal entries about your condition and the challenges it poses
- Preserve bills, receipts, and invoices that correspond to recoverable damages
- Follow all medical advice
- Avoid posting about your situation or the pending claim on social media
- Refer all correspondence with the opposing party to your legal team
- Avoid giving a premature recorded statement
How Does a Benicar Lawsuit Work?
Because legal proceedings are inherently complicated, navigating them can be stressful—especially when your health is in jeopardy. Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about any of the logistics of your case as long as you turn to an experienced product liability attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer from a reputable firm will have the resources to gather the evidence needed to prove both liability and losses. Once you have the makings of a strong claim, your attorney will commence the proceedings.
Since every case is unique, there’s no standard timeline for arriving at a resolution. What’s more, not all claims will pass through all stages. Your attorney will be happy to discuss all the most likely hurdles, though—and their potential outcomes—so you have some idea of what to expect along the way.
Generally speaking, you’ll have to complete most of the following steps to resolve your Benicar lawsuit:
- Compile evidence of liability and losses
- Draft a demand letter outlining the details of the case and the compensation you’re seeking
- Submit the letter and commence negotiations with the opposing party
- File a formal lawsuit if the opposing party disputes liability or refuses to offer a satisfactory settlement
- Conduct discovery, which is essentially another investigation during which you’re trying to compile evidence against the defendant
- Attend mediation with the defendant to try to arrive at a settlement (depending on the kind of evidence that comes to light during the discovery phase, the defendant may be more willing to negotiate at this point)
- Proceed to trial
- Appeal the verdict if you have cause to do so
Do I Need Legal Counsel to Join a Benicar Lawsuit?
While it’s certainly possible to file a product liability lawsuit against a major pharmaceutical manufacturer on your own, doing so is inadvisable. After all, you can be sure Daiichi Sankyo has the resources to challenge every claim that comes their way. Unless you happen to be well-versed in personal injury law, there’s a good chance your own claim will have at least a few holes if you were to prepare it yourself.
If you’re still inclined to represent yourself because you don’t think you can afford a lawyer, think again. Most personal injury firms work on a contingency basis, which essentially means you’ll only be responsible for their fee if the outcome of the case is positive.
If they manage to help you secure a satisfactory settlement or favorable verdict, their fee will come out of the resulting payout. And if they don’t, you won’t have to cover attorneys’ fees at all. (You may, however, still be responsible for expenses like court costs, filing fees, and expert witness charges.)
This arrangement gives lawyers a stake in the outcome of every case they take on, thereby ensuring they’ll fight tirelessly on behalf of each client. And in many cases, they’re able to secure payouts so much larger than the victim could’ve ever managed on his or her own that their counsel essentially pays for itself.
It’s still important to keep firms from overcharging clients, though, which is why most states cap contingency fees. Many have a tier system, which takes into account the amount of work the legal team had to put into the case.
For example, settlements are often capped at about 25 percent, whereas trial verdicts are usually capped at closer to 40 percent. This is because taking a case to court is considerably more work than merely negotiating for a settlement. As long as the practice you’re considering is transparent about their fee structure, you should be able to hire them with confidence.
What Will a Personal Injury Attorney Do for Me?
Your legal team will handle virtually every aspect of your case so you can focus on more important things, like making a full recovery and looking after your family. More specifically, your lawyer will:
- Gather evidence of liability and losses
- Depose relevant witnesses and experts
- Work with your health care providers to ensure you’re receiving the attention you deserve
- Track all economic damages
- Estimate a reasonable figure for non-economic damages
- Handle all correspondence with the opposing party
- Negotiate for a fair settlement
- Prepare your case for trial
- Protect your best interests during mediation
- Represent you in front of a judge or jury
- Appeal an unfavorable verdict if there is cause to do so
To find an attorney in your area who’s equipped to take your case—and help you pursue the maximum payout possible—fill out our form.
How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Benicar Lawsuit?
It’s natural for a personal injury plaintiff to hope for a fast resolution to his or her lawsuit. If your health complications have been keeping you out of work, after all, your financial security is likely in jeopardy, and a prompt payout would undoubtedly solve a lot of the problems you’re currently facing.
Unfortunately, there’s no real way to streamline the proceedings. Product liability suits are inherently complicated, especially when they regard drugs. Since medicine is far from an exact science, proving fault often poses a challenge. What’s more, you shouldn’t conclude the negotiations until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. Only then can you be sure of the full extent of the damages. For some patients, that could take years.
Since all the Benicar-related suits against Daiichi Sankyo are fairly similar, though, there are ways to simplify things. For example, these cases are typically grouped into multidistrict litigations (MDLs), which aim to reduce the burden on the court system. Instead of taking years to resolve each individual case, the court is able to handle them in batches, which can reduce any given claim’s total duration to mere months.
If you’re concerned about facing a lengthy legal battle, talk to your personal injury attorney. A professional who practices with honesty and integrity will never promise to secure a particular settlement or verdict by a certain date because court proceedings are unpredictable; however, your lawyer will be happy to discuss all potential outcomes, as well as the most likely duration of each.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Benicar Lawsuits?
Every state imposes statutes of limitations on personal injury suits. These laws, which essentially prohibit victims from proceeding to court after a certain amount of time has passed, aim to protect both parties. Plaintiffs are inclined to file their suits while critical evidence is still available, and defendants don’t have to worry about challenging allegations that are not accompanied by any tangible proof because it deteriorated over time.
The actual filing deadlines vary from state to state, but generally range from two to six years. It’s important to remember, though, that the “clock” didn’t start when you were first prescribed Benicar; it started when you first realized—or should have realized—that the drug was responsible for the complications you were suffering. This is known as the discovery rule.
As with most statutes, there are a number of exceptions that can either shorten or extend these filing deadlines. Therefore, you should never assume you have plenty of time to proceed. If you attempt to file a formal lawsuit after the statute of limitations has passed, the court will likely dismiss your case, and you will be left with no legal recourse.
In other words, call a personal injury attorney as soon as you think you may have grounds for a claim against Daiichi Sankyo. You can find a local lawyer by filling out our form.
How Much Compensation Can You Get by Filing a Benicar Lawsuit?
Just as there’s no way to predict how long it will take to resolve your case, there’s no way to be sure what kind of payout it will yield. Individual settlements and verdicts will inevitably range from several thousand dollars to several million dollars as more cases against Daiichi Sankyo are concluded.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to enter the proceedings without any idea of what you deserve. There are a number of factors that will influence the compensation to which you’re entitled, and your attorney will be able to discuss all of them in detail. Such factors include:
- The total monetary damages you’ve incurred, including medical bills, lost wages, and the cost of reasonably necessary replacement services
- How the complications you suffered impacted your well-being and overall quality of life
- How the complications you suffered impacted your loved ones
- The strength of the evidence you present
- Whether you had any preexisting conditions that made you more vulnerable to gastrointestinal issues
How Long Does It Take to Get Your Money After Your Suit Has Been Resolved?
If your case is resolved in your favor, you can expect to receive your compensation within about six weeks. In most scenarios, the payout is issued to the plaintiff’s lawyer, who will distribute the funds owed to third parties first, so you don’t have to worry about doing so. This includes resolving any medical liens with health insurance carriers and covering all attorney’s fees.
Once all such expenses have been taken care of, you should receive a check for the remaining portion, all of which will be yours to keep. If you did not take an itemized deduction for the associated medical expenses in prior years, the full amount will not be taxable. Otherwise, however, you must include the portion of the payout that corresponds to any medical expenses you did deduct in your taxable income.
If you or someone you love suffered serious complications while taking Benicar, your family deserves justice. Living with a condition like sprue-like enteropathy is enough to threaten most people’s financial security, not to mention seriously hurt their overall quality of life.
It’s natural to be wary of taking on a major pharmaceutical manufacturer like Daiichi Sankyo, but as long as you turn to a strategic and resourceful attorney, you can essentially level the playing field. While there’s no way to guarantee your claim will yield a payout, you’ve got nothing to lose by getting started. Contact a licensed lawyer to learn more, or fill out our form to have one reach out to you.