Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, filed a petition to the FDA to require Novo Nordisk to withdraw Victoza from the market because of its association with the development of thyroid cancer and renal failure, in addition to the fact that there are safer alternative prescription medications to Victoza. Recent lawsuits against Victoza link its use with acute pancreatitis, thyroid cancer, and renal (kidney) failure.
Earlier this year, the FDA rejected Novo Nordisk's new diabetes drug, Tresiba, without a new safety study. In response, and to increase the company's revenue, Novo Nordisk has decided to market Victoza as a weight-loss treatment, despite the abovementioned lawsuits and FDA warnings.
Although Victoza has not yet been approved for its weight-loss indication, Victoza is poised to be the market share leader for weight-loss because physicians are already familiar with the drug for its treatment of diabetes. It is likely that physicians are already prescribing Victoza off-label for weight-loss, which is dangerous because off-label prescriptions of medications are unregulated and unmonitored.