Experts Demand Recall For Diabetes Drug Metformin

One of the world’s most popular drugs, Metformin, has been added to a growing list of drugs[1] that contain unacceptably high levels of the cancer-causing chemical N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). On May 28, 2020, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration press release announced that an agency laboratory revealed significant levels of nitrosamine impurity NDMA. This contamination makes thousands of people eligible to file metformin lawsuits against drug manufacturers. [2]

The NDMA contamination was found in several batches of extended-release metformin. As of the latest available information, short term release versions of the medication have not been affected. Since the laboratory findings, several companies have announced voluntary recalls because of the carcinogenic properties in their drugs. 

What is Metformin?

Metformin is an oral diabetes medication intended to help control blood sugar levels. Paired with diet and exercise, the drug improves blood sugar levels in adults living with type 2 diabetes. In many cases, metformin is paired with insulin medications to increase its effectiveness. In 2019, approximately 80 million prescriptions were written for metformin making it the fourth most commonly prescribed drug in the United States. 

Metformin was approved by the FDA in 1994 under the brand name Glucophage. Currently, the drug is sold under several brand names including the following:

  • Glumetza
  • Glucophage XR
  • Fortamet
  • Riomet

There are also several generic forms of metformin available in the United States.

Metformin’s use in Janumet

Januvia and metformin combine to make Janumet. Janumet is for people with diabetes who do not gain glycemic control from just a single medication. Often, this prescription medication comes in a tablet form prescribed for use in addition to diet and exercise to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.

The Carlson Law Firm is currently representing clients who used Janumet to treat their type 2 diabetes. Research has long supported a link between Janumet and pancreatic cancer as a result of chronic inflammation in the pancreas (pancreatitis). [3]

Timeline of Metformin Events

In December 2019, the FDA published testing methods to provide an option for NDMA impurity detection.

On February 3, 2020, the testing laboratory posted results for NDMA in metformin. Out of the 37 products tested, 14 contained some level of NDMA ranging from .01-.19. At the same time, Canada announced a recall for two metformin products because of NDMA contamination.

The following drug manufacturers have recalled metformin products: 

  • Amneal Pharmaceuticals 
  • Apotex Corp
  • Avkare (repackager for Amneal) 
  • Granules Pharmaceuticals [4]
  • Lupin Pharmaceuticals [5]
  • PD-Rx Pharmaceuticals (repackager for Amneal) 
  • PD-Rx Pharmaceuticals (repackager for Marksans) 
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals
  • The Harvard Drug Group (repackager for Apotex) 
  • Preferred Pharmaceuticals (repackager for Marksans)

What illnesses are linked to metformin?

Because diabetes medication like metformin is what is considered a lifetime drug, NDMA contamination is especially concerning. Exposure to carcinogenic chemicals every day can significantly increase the risk of developing cancer. Metformin is linked to the following cancers:

  • Stomach cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Esophageal/Nasal/Throat cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Lung cancer (non-smokers)
  • Prostate cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Uterine cancer

Metformin Lawsuit

Thousands if not millions of people are eligible to file metformin lawsuits because of its link to NDMA. You may be eligible to file a metformin lawsuit if you or a loved one were diagnosed with cancer.

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