People filing Actos lawsuits claim that the anti-diabetic medication played a role in the development of bladder cancer. The lawsuits accuse the manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, of hiding the relationship between the drug and the cancer from patients and healthcare providers.
Why Are People Filing Actos Lawsuits?
Actos (pioglitazone) is an anti-diabetic medication prescribed to help type 2 diabetics control their blood sugar levels. While Actos has helped a number of people with type 2 diabetes, the drug has also been associated with several major health complications, since its approval in 1999. Actos has received several warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) including a warning about liver failure, hypoglycemia, edema, and bone fractures as well as a boxed warning for an increased risk of congestive heart failure. In 2011, bladder cancer was added to the list of possible side effects following several studies.
Actos lawsuits filed against Takeda Pharmaceuticals center around the increased risk of developing bladder cancer linked to the type 2 diabetes medication. While all lawsuits lay blame with Takeda, some lawsuits additionally name the drug’s co-marketer Eli Lilly & Co. The lawsuits claim that one or both of the companies were negligent, by not adequately warning patients about the risks involved with long-term use of the drug.
Actos Side Effects
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- Sinus infection
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Congestive heart failure
- Liver problems
- Bone fractures
- Macular edema
- Bladder cancer
Actos and Bladder Cancer
In 2011, after reviewing several studies, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication informing the public that prolonged use of the drug Actos for more than one year may be associated with a 40% increased risk of bladder cancer. The announcement also encouraged doctors to avoid prescribing Actos to patients who currently have bladder cancer or who have a history of the disease.
Later the same year, a warning about the risk was added to the drug labeling in the United States. One of the epidemiological studies that the FDA reviewed that year, conducted in France, led to both Germany and France banning Actos entirely.
Failure to Inform
During one Actos trial, evidence surfaced suggesting that a number of documents owned by Takeda Pharmaceuticals and their employees were lost, deleted, or destroyed ahead of legal action against the company in 2002. At least one of these lost documents was an email believed to have discussed safety concerns regarding Actos.
Another document presented during the trial was a 1993 exchange between Takeda vice-president and the president of UpJohn. The dialogue between the two parties concerned a potential partnership in the development of Actos. The UpJohn president declined the partnership over safety concerns surrounding pioglitazone.
Damages Sought in Actos Lawsuits
Prior to the end of its patent in 2012, Actos brought in a significant amount of money and business for Takeda Pharmaceuticals. According to a court filing in Louisiana, U.S. Actos sales reportedly topped $24 billion between its release in 1999 and the court filing in 2014.
While the drug made the company billions of dollars each year, Actos patients who developed bladder cancer accumulated significant medical bills to treat their cancer. Actos litigation aims to recuperate the costs of medical expenses and lost wages that may have resulted while the patient was in treatment. Apart from compensatory damages, these Actos lawsuits also seek punitive damages to punish Takeda Pharmaceutical for allegedly withholding information surrounding the increased risk of bladder cancer.
Over 10,000 Actos lawsuits have been filed against Takeda Pharmaceuticals over the years. While a handful of these lawsuits were tried in state courts, a multidistrict litigation was formed to cover several thousands of Actos lawsuits.
Federal Actos Lawsuits (MDL 2299)
In December 2011, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) created the MDL 2299 in the Western District of Louisiana to consolidate over 3,700 Actos claims against Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly.
Terrence and Susan Allen: Terrence began taking Actos in 2006. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011 and filed a lawsuit against the Japanese pharmaceutical company later that year. The suit claimed that Takeda and its marketing partner knew about the bladder cancer risks associated with the drug and did not provide adequate warnings about the risk to patients and healthcare providers.
A jury found in favor of the Allen’s claim and awarded the couple nearly $1.5 million in compensatory damages. The jury then ordered the two companies to pay a total of $9 billion in punitive damages with Takeda Pharmaceuticals paying the bulk of the damages. When determining punitive damages, the jury considered the billions of dollars that the company profited off the diabetes medication.
Judge Rebecca F. Doherty later reduced the awarded damages to $1.27 million in compensatory damages and $36.8 million in punitive damages. MDL 2299 was closed on April 11th, 2018.
State Actos Lawsuits
Despite Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ federal court loss, the Japanese company has been extremely successful in state-filed cases against them. Not only has Takeda won several verdicts but it has been fortunate in the appeals process on numerous cases. Takeda’s legal team has been able to overturn a number of million dollar verdicts against the company.
In April 2015, Takeda Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay a $2.4 billion settlement to resolve over 9,000 pending product liability cases filed against the company and their diabetes drug. While Takeda agreed to the settlement, the company refuses to admit liability. Takeda continues to deny any wrongdoing and has stood by their belief that the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks.
The amount distributed to each plaintiff will vary based on the severity of his or her injury and the individual’s smoking history among other factors. However, estimates have been made that individual plaintiffs could receive a payout of $200,000 or more. It remains one of the largest pharmaceutical product liability settlements to date.
Despite this major settlement, Takeda Pharmaceuticals remains in the legal spotlight with lawsuits concerning several other drugs that they manufacture.
Actos Lawsuit FAQs
Am I Eligible to File an Actos Lawsuit?
Thousands of cases have already been settled against Takeda Pharmaceutical, but you may still be eligible to file an Actos and bladder cancer lawsuit against the company if you meet the following requirements:
- You took Actos as prescribed and developed bladder cancer within a certain timeframe
- The statute of limitations has not passed in your state to file a lawsuit
If your loved one passed away from bladder cancer after taking Actos as prescribed, you might consider filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased.
Determine if you have a viable case by consulting an experienced Actos lawyer.
What Compensation Is Available for Actos Lawsuits?
Actos lawsuit verdicts that have ended in favor of the plaintiff have varied in the damage amounts awarded. However, the Actos lawsuit payouts have included damages to cover a plaintiff’s economic and emotional costs as well as punitive damages that financially punish the pharmaceutical company for negligence and wrongdoing.
How Much Does an Actos Lawyer Cost?
Most law firms will work with clients on a contingency basis, meaning the law firm won’t get paid until you get paid, either through a settlement or verdict award. Be sure to bring up the subject of expenses and legal fees with your lawyer when you discuss your case.