Nashville-based law firm part of class action lawsuit against major diabetes drug makers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Many people are using drugs like Ozempic to lose weight, but a Nashville law firm said the companies behind those drugs aren’t being upfront about side effects.

Attorneys are looking for anyone else who has a similar story for a class-action lawsuit.

Drug makers Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly are now at the center of yet another lawsuit involving popular drugs Wegovy, Ozempic, Rybelsus, Trulicity, and Mounjaro, typically used to treat diabetes, and now used by many for weight loss. Nashville-based law firm Bart Durham Injury Law is representing a client in a newly filed lawsuit. The client took Ozempic and claims he ended up with stomach paralysis.

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“As I dug into it and started talking to other lawyers that had these cases, I realized that, in the beginning, Ozempic, in particular, started in 2017 — no warning labels about stomach paralysis, no warning labels about gallbladder disease,” said personal injury lawyer Blair Durham. “Somebody’s got to call their misinformation; somebody has to say, ‘This is wrong and it’s got to stop,’ and we want to be that somebody.”

The law firm claims drugs that are intended for a medical condition are being re-positioned as weight-loss drugs without patients fully understanding the risks involved.

“Stomach paralysis — food doesn’t process through your stomach — the muscles in your stomach aren’t able to contract to get it through. It causes stomach ulcers, stomach bleeding, can cause death. My client had his gallbladder removed,” said Durham.

This lawsuit is one of several filed in the last few years involving these drugs and their side effects.

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“These drug companies have told doctors, ‘Tell your patients that they’re going to get nausea, diarrhea, headaches, but it usually goes away.’ Well, those are the same symptoms for the major health issues that are happening,” said Durham. “I mean, you look at past of all the different litigation that’s happened against pharmaceutical companies rushing drugs to market for profit and not warning people. There have been thousands and thousands of deaths.”

News 2 reached out to drugmakers Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly regarding the lawsuit. Representatives sent the following statements:

“Patient safety is Lilly’s top priority, and we actively engage in monitoring, evaluating, and reporting safety information for all our medicines. Our FDA-approved labels clearly warn of the risks of our medicines, and these risks are communicated to and widely known by healthcare providers. We will continue to vigorously defend against these claims.”

Eli Lilly representatives

“GLP-1 has been used to treat Type 2 diabetes (T2D) for more than 18 years, and for treatment of obesity for eigh years, including Novo Nordisk GLP-1 products such as semaglutide and liraglutide that have been on the market for more than 13 years. Semaglutide has been extensively examined in robust clinical development programs, large real world evidence studies and has cumulatively over 9.5 million patient years of exposure.

Gastroparesis is a clinical syndrome characterized by delayed gastric emptying in the absence of mechanical obstruction of the stomach. While diabetes is a well-known risk factor, there are other risk factors that may increase the risk of gastroparesis such as overweight/obesity, gender (female), virus infection and nervous systems disease (Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis).

Gastrointestinal (GI) events are well-known side effects of the GLP-1 class. For semaglutide, the majority of GI side effects are mild to moderate in severity and of short duration. GLP-1’s are known to cause a delay in gastric emptying, as noted in the label of each of our GLP-1 RA medications. Symptoms of delayed gastric emptying, nausea and vomiting are listed as side effects.

Patient safety is of utmost importance to Novo Nordisk. We recommend patients take these medications for their approved indications and under the supervision of a healthcare professional. We are continuously monitoring the safety profile of our products and collaborate closely with authorities to ensure patient safety, including adequate information on gastrointestinal side effects in the label.”

Novo Nordisk representatives

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For more details on the class action lawsuit and to learn more about if you qualify to take part, click here.

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