A witness in the recently begun Actos trial testified earlier this week that Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the diabetes drug, put sales ahead of consumer safety.
The testimony came from Howard Greenberg, a clinical pharmacologist, who read from a 2005 e-mail between Takeda executives who were discussing news of possible action by regulators in the U.S. and Europe to put warning labels on Actos about the possible bladder cancer dangers posed by the drug. Rather than fret about the health and safety of consumers, the executives discussed only the importance of protecting their blockbuster medication. According to Greenberg, the emails clearly indicated that management at Takeda cared only about their product and its massive profits, not about the safety of vulnerable patients.
One email from a Takeda executive discussed the worry that regulators would demand stricter labels be included on its product. Rather than point out the studies which had indicated links between the drug and bladder and heart troubles, the executive discussed the importance of protecting the firm’s bottom line. The executive wrote, “Actos is the most important product for Takeda and therefore we need to manage this issue very carefully and successfully not to cause any damage for this product globally.” Tragically, patient safety never came up in the conversation.
The case revolves around one man, Jack Cooper, who took Actos for nearly four years before being diagnosed with bladder cancer. His attorneys discussed how healthy Cooper was prior to taking the drug, going on long walks, doing physically demanding work and going on deep-sea diving trips with his grandkids. Takeda claims that Cooper was a smoker and that given his age and gender, it’s not unusual that he developed bladder cancer.
The trial comes on the heels of news that Takeda recently won approval by the FDA to sell Nesina, a replacement for Actos. Actos had been a huge seller for Takeda, raking in $4.5 billion in sales in 2011 alone before the drug lost its patent protection.
Given the studies linking Actos to bladder cancer, heart trouble and blurred vision, it’s a wonder that the drug is still being marketed to patients. Attorneys at Pope McGlamry P.C. are currently taking and filing cases against manufacturers to hold them liable for distributing defective products. If you or a loved one has suffered from bladder cancer and you think that it is because of Actos, contact our Georgia product liability litigation attorneys today and schedule a free consultation.
Source: “Takeda Put Actos Sales Ahead of User Safety, Witness Says,” by Jef Feeley, published at Bloomberg.com.
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