National / Science & Health

Breast cancer drug Verzenio could have serious side effects on lungs, Japan's health ministry warns

Kyodo

The health ministry on Friday warned that the breast cancer drug Verzenio is now suspected of adversely affecting the lungs after 14 recipients in Japan developed a serious lung disease and three died.

The drug is suspected of causing the side effects in at least four of the 14 cases, including one fatality, the ministry said. Verzenio, developed by Eli Lilly and Co., received Japanese clearance in September last year and debuted in November.

The number of patients in Japan who have used the oral drug since its release is estimated at around 2,000, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

Verzenio is designed to block certain molecules involved in promoting the growth of cancer cells.