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Januvia Cancer Lawsuit News

Januvia Sales Drop for the Quarter

Sales of Merck’s Januvia, a diabetes medication and the company’s biggest seller, dropped for the first quarter of the year. The news, which was reported May 1, was surprising, Reuters said. Merck also lowered its full-year forecast today.

Merck sales for the quarter dropped 9 percent to $10.7 billion, according to reports. That number is well below the $11.09 billion the market was expecting.

The drug company reported its net income for the first quarter was $1.59 billion. That equaled 52 cents a share. In the previous quarter at the end of 2012, net income was $1.74 billion, equaling 56 cents per share.

Januvia is a medication to treat patients who have Type 2 diabetes. These diabetics lack enough insulin to metabolize glucose (blood sugar) properly, or the insulin that is there is not working as it should. The result is blood sugar that is too high. Januvia works to keep blood sugar down by increasing the amount of insulin the pancreas produces and by cutting back on sugar produced in the liver.

Reuters quoted Citibank analyst Andrew Baum as saying in a research note, “The weakness of Merck’s quarter can only be regarded as a clarion call for management and investors.”

Januvia has been Merck’s leading drug seller since it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006. Its sales fell 4 percent to $884 million last quarter.

In recent months, the FDA and scientists at universities and elsewhere have begun to question the safety of Januvia. Recent studies have shown a possible correlation between patients taking the drug and the development of pancreatic cancer or what is believed to be its precursor, pancreatitis. 

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that can have serious, sometimes lethal, consequences. Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest of all the major cancers.