There are current lawsuits related to complications from weight-loss drugs. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits allege that after taking certain prescription medications for weight loss or diabetes, they developed stomach paralysis, known as gastroparesis, and a rare eye condition called non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), which can lead to sudden blindness.

July 2024 Update

A recent study from Harvard Medical School reveals a significant association between semaglutide-based drugs like Ozempic and an increased risk of non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), a rare eye condition that can lead to sudden vision loss. Diabetic patients using semaglutide were found to be nearly five times more likely to develop NAION, while overweight or obese users faced an even higher risk. Despite these findings, experts emphasize the overall rarity of NAION and advise patients to consult their healthcare providers about potential risks. Immediate medical attention is recommended for users experiencing sudden vision changes.

Weight Loss Lawsuit Updates

The plaintiffs claim that prescription drug manufacturers failed to properly warn about this potential side effect. The plaintiffs seek financial restitution for damages, including pain and suffering, along with compensation for their medical bills. These weight-loss lawsuits are still in their early stages. However, if anyone develops gastroparesis after taking a prescription weight-loss or diabetes medication, they may be eligible for a lawsuit. Here is all the latest information about these weight-loss lawsuits, including information on projected settlement amounts and eligibility requirements.

Is there a weight-loss lawsuit?

Yes, there is currently a weight-loss lawsuit. Jaclyn Bjorklund filed the first weight-loss lawsuit in Louisiana on Aug. 2, 2023. In this lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that they developed gastroparesis after taking the drugs Ozempic and Mounjaro. Gastroparesis is a severe disorder in which food moves too slowly from the stomach to the small intestine; in some cases, food can stop moving altogether. It can also cause severe vomiting, dehydration, and abdominal pain, among other symptoms.

Ozempic is a prescription medication used for weight loss and diabetes. Its active ingredient, semaglutide, helps slow food leaving the stomach. This helps patients feel fuller longer, leading them to consume less food. The manufacturer of Ozempic is Novo Nordisk, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. They claim that Ozempic has been used safely for years to treat diabetes and obesity.

Mounjaro is another prescription medication used to treat Type 2 diabetes. Patients receive Mounjaro through an injection, and it aims to improve blood sugar control. Eli Lilly, another large pharmaceutical company based in the U.S., manufactures this medication. Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly are the named manufacturers in the weight-loss lawsuits; the plaintiff alleges that these companies failed to adequately warn of their medications’ potential side effects.

Latest weight-loss lawsuit updates

The lawsuits against Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly are still in their early stages. In August 2023, the first lawsuit involving Ozempic and Mounjaro was filed. At this point, summonses to Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly were issued. The law firm that filed this lawsuit is investigating 400 other inquiries from clients across the U.S.

Currently, there are no class-action lawsuits related to Ozempic or other semaglutides. There is also no motion to consolidate these lawsuits into a multidistrict litigation. However, if the number of cases related to Ozempic and weight loss continues to grow, this may change. This is likely the next phase of the litigation, as more people become aware of the lawsuits and determine whether or not they want to join.

Weight loss linked to stomach paralysis

There is growing evidence that weight-loss drugs can lead to stomach paralysis. While more research is likely needed to definitively prove the connection, some studies already suggest it. Below are two studies on weight loss and stomach paralysis that may lay the foundation for further research.

Body weight in patients with idiopathic gastroparesis

The first study came from the NIDDK Gastroparesis Clinical Research Consortium. In this study, the researchers aimed to learn more about the factors that impact body weight in patients with idiopathic gastroparesis. To do this, the researchers examined 138 patients with idiopathic gastroparesis, gathering detailed history and weight measurements at the start of the study and after 48 weeks. They used questionnaires to learn more about the patients, such as their quality of life, level of physical activity, and food intake.

Through this study, the researchers gathered significant evidence that diet, activity, and symptoms are essential factors in body weight for patients with idiopathic gastroparesis. The researchers also found less gastric retention for patients who were losing weight than those who either were gaining weight or had no change in weight. Finally, the researchers concluded that “change in body weight over time was associated with oral energy consumption and symptoms of abdominal pain, retching, constipation, and changes in severity of early satiety.”

Gastrointestinal adverse events associated with semaglutide

In the second study, researchers aimed to look at the safety of semaglutide use over the long term. One of their reasons is the increased use of semaglutides and the rise in gastrointestinal adverse events, with annual reports multiplying by almost four times between 2018 and 2021. To conduct their research, the researchers mined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pharmacovigilance database, looking for semaglutide-associated gastrointestinal safety signals. Through this process, researchers identified more than 5,400 patients with semaglutide-associated gastrointestinal AEs.

After collecting the data, the researchers found that an association between semaglutide and gastrointestinal disorders remained even after accounting for age, body weight, and sex. Additionally, the researchers state that their results were consistent with other clinical trials that suggest semaglutide may increase the risk of gastrointestinal disorders.

Projected weight-loss medication settlement amounts

Currently, it is too early to project potential weight-loss settlement amounts. Once more people begin to file lawsuits and reach either a settlement or a jury verdict, it will be easier to estimate potential settlement amounts. However, we can look at other cases related to weight-loss lawsuits to make an educated guess.

For example, in 2016, the Federal Trade Commission led an effort to stop misleading claims from products about easy weight loss. As a part of this effort, the marketers of Sensa, a product that claimed you could “sprinkle, eat, and lose weight,” agreed to pay $26.5 million for deceiving customers with unfounded weight-loss claims. In another 2014 settlement, an operation known as Sale Slash agreed to pay approximately $10 million over their unsupported claims related to weight-loss products. In both cases, most of the settlement amount went to consumers who bought the misleading products.

Do you qualify for a weight-loss lawsuit?

Lawyers are looking for people who suffered severe gastroparesis after taking Ozempic or another semaglutide. People suffering from severe gastroparesis who have experienced vomiting for at least four weeks may be eligible for a weight-loss lawsuit. A lawyer or law firm specializing in pharmaceutical lawsuits should be consulted to determine eligibility for a weight-loss lawsuit.

In the initial consultation, the lawyer will ask questions about the situation. Some criteria they may explore are the medications taken, including Ozempic, and how long those drugs have been taken. They will also look at the severity and duration of the symptoms. Some criteria that may prevent someone from filing a weight-loss lawsuit include current cancer treatment or prior gastric bypass surgery before taking Ozempic. However, every situation is unique, so these are rough guidelines, not concrete rules. Consulting with a lawyer is the best way to determine eligibility for a weight-loss lawsuit.

Manufacturers involved in the lawsuit

As of September 2023, two primary manufacturers are involved in weight-loss lawsuits. The first is Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Ozempic. Novo Nordisk is a multinational pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Denmark. However, they have facilities all over the world. Novo Nordisk specializes in pharmaceutical products related to diabetes. Its primary products are Ozempic, used to treat diabetes, and Wegovy, used to treat obesity.

The other manufacturer is Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Mounjaro. Eli Lilly is an American pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Indiana. Some of Eli Lilly’s biggest products include Prozac and Cymbalta, used to treat clinical depression. However, it also specializes in diabetes drugs, such as Humalog and Trulicity.

Weight Loss Lawsuit Timeline 

July 2024

  • Harvard Medical School publishes a study linking semaglutide use to an increased risk of non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). This is a rare eye condition that can lead to sudden vision loss.

June 2024

  • On June 6, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation reassigned the Ozempic MDL to Judge Karen S. Marston. She met with attorneys for a status conference, though no formal orders about the bellwether process set by the late Judge Pratter were filed by June 11. It is anticipated that Judge Marston will continue Judge Pratter’s work, including selecting bellwether trial cases and managing discovery processes.

May 2024

  • Judge Gene E. K. Pratter, who was overseeing both the Ozempic and Mounjaro MDLs, passed away unexpectedly on May 17 in Philadelphia. This event caused some uncertainty and potential delays as the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation worked to reassign the MDLs. Despite this, attorneys involved in the litigation, including our firm’s partners, reassured clients of their commitment to moving the litigation forward.
  • Prior to his death, Judge Pratter appointed Paul Pennock from Morgan & Morgan and other attorneys to the Plaintiff’s Committee for both the Ozempic and Mounjaro MDLs to help guide the litigation process.

March 2024

  • The litigation was still in its early stages. Attorneys for Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly had filed their notices of appearance, and more plaintiffs continued to be added to the MDL.

February 2024

  • A total of 55 lawsuits alleging severe gastrointestinal injuries from GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs, including Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro, were consolidated into a federal MDL in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Plaintiff’s lawyers anticipated that the number of cases could rise to as many as 10,000.

January 2024

  • The FDA announced it was reviewing reports of hair loss, suicidal thoughts, and aspiration under sedation and anesthesia in people using Ozempic and similar medications. This followed multiple adverse event reports in the FDA’s database.

December 2023

  • Judge James Cain, Jr. rejected Novo Nordisk’s attempt to dismiss Jaclyn Bjorklund’s case, which also named Eli Lilly and Mounjaro. He did dismiss the express warranty claims, but all other claims, including failure to warn, were allowed to proceed. Plaintiff lawyers filed a motion to consolidate Ozempic cases in Louisiana District Court.

November 2023

  • A proposed class action lawsuit was filed in B.C. Supreme Court by Canadians, alleging Novo Nordisk failed to adequately warn about potential complications like gastroparesis linked to Ozempic. This lawsuit was similar to others filed elsewhere.

October 2023

  • As of this date, no class action or multidistrict litigation for gastroparesis injuries linked to Ozempic had been established. However, there were seven cases pending in an unrelated Ozempic patent litigation MDL. The lawsuits were in early stages, with no settlements or jury trials yet.

September 2023

  • The FDA added warnings about the risks of intestinal blockage, obstruction, and ileus to Ozempic’s label.
  • Eli Lilly filed lawsuits against compounding pharmacies, medspas, and wellness centers over the fraudulent distribution of counterfeit products labeled as Mounjaro.

August 2023

  • Jaclyn Bjorklund filed one of the first lawsuits alleging gastroparesis injuries from Ozempic and Mounjaro, with summonses issued to Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly on August 3. By November 3, Novo Nordisk had moved to dismiss her case in Louisiana federal court.
  • Morgan & Morgan filed a claim in federal district court on behalf of their client, Jaclyn Bjorklund, naming Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly as defendants.

July 2023

  • The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) reported shortages of Ozempic and Wegovy, both manufactured by Novo Nordisk, due to increased demand.

August 2022

  • Seven Novo Nordisk lawsuits were centralized into an MDL in Delaware against generic drug makers for patent infringement. Defendants had filed FDA applications to produce generic versions of Ozempic. Also, a research letter in JAMA Internal Medicine linked Ozempic to an increased risk of gallbladder disease and gallstones, prompting lawyers to begin accepting related lawsuits.

May 2022

  • The FDA approved Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro to help manage blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetes patients. The approval noted potential gastrointestinal side effects.