Several lawsuits have been filed against Novartis, the manufacturer of an injectable drug intended to treat macular degeneration. The Beovu lawsuits allege that Novartis failed to warn consumers of potentially serious side effects including blindness, vision loss, retinal vasculitis, retinal artery occlusion, and intraocular inflammation.
What is Beovu?
Beovu is a medication prescribed for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration. It was approved for treatment by prescription in 2019. Treatment generally consists of a series of injections into the eye(s). It treated the condition by stopping new blood vessels from forming in the eye to prevent leaking into the macula.
What is Wet AMD?
Wet AMD or wet age-related macular degeneration is a condition in the eye where blood vessels begin to grow under the macula and leak fluid into the macula. It is a more rare and severe condition than dry AMD but is considered to be more treatable. Untreated, it can cause rapid and severe vision loss.
Potential Risks Alleged in the Beovu Lawsuits
Approximately five months after the drug hit the market, a safety study done by the American Society of Retinal Specialists found that there was a risk of a potentially serious side effect of occlusive retinal vasculitis from receiving these injections. Their study identified 14 cases of eye injury, including 11 diagnoses of occlusive retinal vasculitis in patients receiving Beovu injections.
What is Retinal Vasculitis vs Occlusive Retinal Vasculitis?
Retinal vasculitis is inflammation of the retinal artery (artery carrying blood from the eye to the heart). Occlusive retinal vasculitis is a condition where a blood clot occurs when the veins narrow and become blocked. The latter is much more serious and can result in irreversible vision loss.
What are the Symptoms of Retinal Vasculitis?
Retinal vasculitis can cause a myriad of symptoms including blurry vision, floaters and/or spots in the eye, and color blindness.
FDA Requires a Black Box Warning Label
When a pharmaceutical has potentially serious risks or side effects, the Federal Drug Administration will often require that a specific warning label known as a black box warning be included on the drug’s packaging. On June 11, 2020, the FDA began requiring a Beovu black box warning for the potential side effects of the use of this drug.
Who is Novartis?
Novartis AG is a Swiss-American Multinational corporation with bases in Basel, Switzerland, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. They are one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
Do I Have a Claim?
Anyone who was diagnosed with an eye injury from use of this product between October of 2019 and June 11, 2020, would have a potential cause of action. Once a black box label is placed on the drug, the consumer has been warned. The consumer who continues to use the product and gets the warned condition now assumes the risk. Update: 7/9/2023. There is a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims in Massachusetts—the state where Novartis is located. That SOL ran on 6/11/2023 absent some exception or drug purchase and use in a state with a longer statute of limitations.
*Warning: never stop taking a medication prescribed by a physician without talking to the physician first about your concerns as ceasing a medication can lead to other serious side effects.