Taiwan has banned the prescription diet pill Belviq and and its extended release version five months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed the weight loss treatment from the United States market due to cancer risks.
The U.S. FDA ordered the withdrawal of Belviq on Feb. 13, 2020, after a review of a long-term study on the drug revealed people who used the drug had a higher occurrence of cancer, especially pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancers.
Studies of Heart Risk Detect Cancer Risk Instead
Belviq was approved in the U.S. in June 2012 as a long-term weight loss treatment. However, because previous prescription diet pills had been pulled from the market due to heart risks, the agency required the drug maker to conduct studies to determine whether people using its drug were at higher risk for heart attacks and strokes. The study concluded in June 2018 and showed no cardiovascular risks. But it did show a higher occurrence of cancer among Belviq users. The FDA said this translated to one additional cancer diagnosis per 470 patients over the course of a year.
After the U.S. FDA’s announcement, Taiwan FDA asked Chuang Yi Biotech, the holder of Belviq’s drug permit license in Taiwan, to temporarily suspend sales, reevaluate the drug’s safety, and recall it from the market. On July 16, the Taiwan agency concluded its drug safety assessment and determined that the risks of Belviq outweighed the benefits. The drug company’s license for Belviq was revoked and the drug permanently banned in Taiwan.
Belviq was approved for use in Taiwan in 2017 and since then approximately 10 million tablets have been sold to about 10,000 to 20,000 consumers. Since February, when Taiwan’s food and drug administration suspended sales of Belviq, the agency has received five reports of adverse events related to Belviq use including dizziness, itchy skin, sleep disorders, and suspected symptoms of breast cancer.
If you used Belviq and then were diagnosed with cancer, you should talk to an attorney. You may have a case against the manufacturer. Attorneys with Beasley Allen Law firm are currently investigating cases of pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer and lung cancer in patients who have been treated with Belviq. Please contact Roger Smith, Ryan Duplechin or Melissa Prickett to discuss a possible claim, or fill out our contact form on this website for a free consultation.