Novo Nordisk Faces Legal Action Over Wegovy Side Effects

Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of the weight loss drug Wegovy, is facing a product liability lawsuit filed by Jenny Bryant, a woman from New York. Bryant alleges that the company failed to adequately warn users and doctors about the actual risk of gastroparesis associated with Wegovy, which led to her requiring surgery to empty the contents of her stomach due to the side effects of the medication.

5 Key Points

  • Wegovy (semaglutide) is a higher-dose version of the diabetes drug Ozempic, belonging to the class of GLP-1 receptor agonists.
  • The lawsuit claims Novo Nordisk failed to warn that the risk of Wegovy gastroparesis side effects was dose-specific.
  • Bryant experienced severe gastrointestinal symptoms after taking Wegovy injections and required a stomach emptying procedure.
  • The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for Bryant’s injuries.
  • Many Ozempic and Wegovy lawsuits have been centralized in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Wegovy and Gastroparesis Risk

According to the complaint, Bryant began receiving once-weekly Wegovy injections in April 2023 to promote weight loss. The dosing schedule called for an increase in the injections from .25 mg to 2.4 mg. The lawsuit notes that “the higher the dose of the GLP-1 agonist, the more extreme the effects.” It alleges that Novo Nordisk did not adequately warn about the severe side effects associated with Wegovy, including acute and chronic gastrointestinal issues, deep vein thrombosis, sarcopenia, malnutrition, compromised body composition, hospitalization, and death.

Gastroparesis is a condition that affects the normal spontaneous movement of the stomach muscles, preventing proper stomach emptying. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating, and feeling full quickly when eating. In severe cases, such as Bryant’s, surgical intervention may be necessary to empty the stomach contents and alleviate symptoms.

Bryant’s Experience with Wegovy Side Effects

After each Wegovy injection, Bryant experienced vomiting, bloating, and upper abdominal pain. Despite being prescribed antinausea medications, her symptoms persisted even after discontinuing the injections in August 2023. An endoscopy in December revealed a food bolus, and a stomach emptying test in January confirmed severe gastroparesis.

Bryant’s case highlights the potential risks of Wegovy and the importance of adequate warnings for patients and healthcare providers. The lawsuit alleges that Novo Nordisk’s failure to properly inform users about the dose-specific risk of gastroparesis led to Bryant’s injuries and the need for invasive medical procedures.

Ozempic and Wegovy Lawsuit Update

With a growing number of similar claims filed in federal courts, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has centralized all gastroparesis lawsuits involving users of Wegovy, Ozempic, and other GLP-1 medications. Since February 2024, the litigation has been consolidated for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The court will oversee discovery into common issues and is expected to schedule early “bellwether” test cases for trial. Thousands of claims are expected to be transferred to the Ozempic and Wegovy litigation as lawyers continue to review and file cases.

The centralization of these lawsuits aims to streamline the legal process, conserve resources, and ensure consistent rulings on common issues. As the litigation progresses, developments and the potential impact on patients who have experienced adverse effects from these widely prescribed medications will need to be monitored.

The Importance of Informed Consent and Adequate Warnings

Bryant’s case underscores the importance of informed consent and adequate warnings for prescription medications. Patients have the right to be fully informed about the potential risks and side effects associated with the prescribed drugs, allowing them to make informed decisions about their healthcare.

Pharmaceutical companies have a legal and ethical obligation to test their products thoroughly, disclose known risks, and provide accurate information to healthcare providers and patients. When drug manufacturers fail to fulfill these responsibilities, they may be held liable for the injuries and damages caused by their products.

As the Ozempic and Wegovy litigation progresses, it will be crucial to determine whether Novo Nordisk adequately warned about the risk of gastroparesis and other serious side effects associated with these medications. The outcome of these lawsuits may have significant implications for the pharmaceutical industry and how drug risks are communicated to the public.