A jury in the state court of Philadelphia has ordered Takeda Pharmaceutical Company to pay $1.3 million in punitive damages to a former teacher who alleged that the drug manufacturer’s Actos diabetes medicine caused his bladder cancer. According to a Bloomberg News report, this is the company’s fifth loss in Actos lawsuits. Jurors deliberated for two hours before determining that the Japanese drug maker must pay the punitive award to the plaintiff for showing “reckless indifference” to his health by mishandling the diabetes drug.
The day before this verdict, the jury had awarded the plaintiff more than $2.3 million in compensatory damages. The plaintiff developed bladder cancer due to his use of Actos. According to court documents, he had to undergo surgery to remove his bladder. The jury found that Actos was “a significant cause” of the plaintiff’s bladder cancer and that his doctors were never properly warned about the drug’s potential risks, specifically its tendency to cause bladder cancer. The punitive damages in this case are meant to penalize Takeda and send out a warning to other drug makers that such negligence is egregious and unacceptable.
A Dangerous Drug
So far, more than 4,500 Actos lawsuits have been filed in state courts including Illinois, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Actos (generic name pioglitazone) was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has since generated $16 billion in sales. In March 2011, sales peaked at $4.5 billion, constituting 27 percent of the company’s revenue at the time. Several Actos users have argued that Takeda executives ignored or downplayed the drug’s cancer-causing potential before it went on sale in the U.S. in 1999 and misled federal regulators about the medicine’s dangers.
Several studies have shown that Actos may potentially cause bladder cancer. In 2012, a study by researchers at the Lady Davis Institute of Jewish General Hospital in Montreal determined that the use of Actos for more than two years doubles the risk of bladder cancer. Researchers warned that patients with type 2 diabetes and their doctors must be made aware of the potential linkage between Actos and bladder cancer.
They warned that the drug should not be used in patients with a history of bladder cancer or those with other bladder conditions. Following several studies, the FDA required Takeda to put a warning on their products cautioning consumers and physicians about the bladder cancer risk.
Experienced Actos Lawyers
Pharmaceutical companies have a legal obligation to sell drugs that are properly tested and vetted before being made available to consumers. If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured by this diabetes drug or a medication containing pioglitazone, you may want to speak with an experienced attorney who will assist you with your claim. An Actos lawyer familiar with new developments in the investigation of this drug can file a lawsuit on your behalf. You may be eligible to receive compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, loss of livelihood, permanent injury, pain and suffering and emotional distress.