Federal appeals court bats back claims Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug triggers pancreatic cancer

A federal appeals court upheld a win for Novo Nordisk this week, tossing out claims that its type 2 diabetes drug Victoza can cause pancreatic cancer.

The case stems back to multidistrict litigation from 2013 in which 1,500 plaintiffs accused several pharma companies of failing to warn of a potential link between their type 2 diabetes drugs and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer — including AstraZeneca’s Byetta, Novo Nordisk’s Victoza, and Merck’s Januvia and Janumet.

US district judge Anthony Battaglia in San Diego dismissed those claims last March, writing in a summary judgment that “defendants have demonstrated by clear evidence that the FDA would have rejected a reference to pancreatic cancer in the product labeling during the time in which Plaintiffs’ claims accrued.”

He also granted motions to dismiss multiple expert witnesses, including in Novo’s case, the sole plaintiff expert, a physician named Robert Gale.

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