The FDA recently announced the voluntary recall of Belviq and Belviq XR, weight loss drugs manufactured by Eisai Inc. The recall was prompted by a safety clinical trial showing that the drug may be associated with an increased risk of cancer. According to the FDA, a range of cancer types were reported in the trial. However, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer reportedly occurred more frequently in Belviq weight loss users. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this with Scott Hardy, the President of Top Class Actions.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Farron Cousins:                  According to new reports, Belviq a popular weight loss drug, might actually be linked to several different forms of cancer and the FDA has actually issued a voluntary recall of both Belviq and Belviq XR. Joining me now to talk about what’s happening is Scott Hardy with Top Class Actions and Scott, we see this happen quite frequently with weight loss drugs. Comes out years later after they’d been on the market for quite some time, significant problems arise. I mean, we saw it with fen-phen and now we’re seeing it with this Belviq. So tell us what the FDA is essentially trying to warn everybody about right now.

Scott Hardy:                          Sure. So it’s interesting. Back in 2012 the FDA ran a large clinical trial and they were checking for cardiovascular risks. They wanted to see if Belviq and Belviq XR would have resulted, those folks who are trying to lose weight, have heart problems. But it turns out that they didn’t have heart problems, but they had a much higher risk of cancer and so they actually saw cancer developed and they did this study of around 12,000 patients. So it was, you know, it’s, it’s a fairly large study as these go and then found that they were much more likely to develop things like, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer. And so if you took Belviq or Belviq XR and or a, a loved one did, and developed cancer while they were on it or after they were on it, you really want to talk to a lawyer and see what your options are because it turns out that it, it very may well have been caused or encouraged by Belviq. At least, that’s what these FDA studies appear to show.

Farron Cousins:                  And you mentioned this study, 12,000 patients studied in this study over the course of five years. It was a double blind placebo control, I mean, basically about as accurate as you can get in terms of a scientific study. I mean that and, and huge obviously sample size here. So there’s really not a whole lot of margin of error with the way this study was conducted. They did it exactly the way they should with all pharmaceuticals. Did it over a long enough period of time, you know, controlled for placebos and the double blind, I mean it was, it was perfectly done. And yeah, they found that wow, people on this medication are developing these cancers at a significantly higher rate than those in the placebo and that’s not even what they were looking for. They wanted to see is this going to affect your heart, is your cardiovascular system going to be in trouble?

And so, you know, the FDA finally obviously came out and said, okay, well we’ll voluntarily recall it, which basically just means if you’re on this or if the company feels like it, go ahead and stop taking it. I, that’s not good enough. I mean the, the, the science is becoming clearer as, as it goes on, this thing is causing cancer based on all of the available evidence. This, in my opinion, shouldn’t be a voluntary recall. It should absolutely be completely recalled at this point. But maybe we’ll get there. Maybe we won’t. But I think these studies are pretty significant here.

Scott Hardy:                          They really are and so we’ll have to see, you know, how many people truly are impacted by this. Our initial outreach has found that, you know, just a handful of people have reached out saying they’re impacted. So we’ll have to see how many people actually were taking Belviq and Belviq XR and of course, how many of those folks developed cancer. If they developed cancer, they definitely want to connect with an attorney. They can, they can talk to us, they can, you know, do some Googling on their own. But it’s worth checking into because this is going to be a major topic, especially when we look at the trial lawyers over the course of the next year to see how many people are really out there that are impacted.

Farron Cousins:                  Absolutely, these things always kind of start small and then they will snowball. So we will likely see that happening, especially as the media, you know, starts to pick up this story and informs people of what’s actually happening. That’s when we’ll probably see the influx of people saying, oh my God, I was on this medication. I developed cancer. I need to make that phone call now. So that’s likely what’s going to happen probably in the next 6 to 12 months. This story will get picked up. People will understand, understand the risks, and we’re going to see a lot more people filing for this.

But in the meantime, as Scott mentioned, if you or a loved one have taken this medication, follow the link in the description of this video. Head over to Top Class Actions, get all the information you need about this, and might want to bookmark this page and come back to it in the future. Share it with people. This is going to be very important and likely going to be a big litigation in the near future. Scott Hardy, Top Class Actions, thank you very much for talking with us.

Scott Hardy:                          You’re welcome. Thanks for your time, Farron.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced