Blue Shield and Blue Cross File Claim Over Actos


In a recent addition to the ongoing Actos ordeal, Blue Shield and Blue Cross filed complaints against Takeda Pharmaceuticals on June 11, 2014. The two insurance providers are seeking compensation for payouts related to bladder cancer risk associated with Actos, a prescription drug for Type II diabetes patients. Takeda and their Indianapolis-based marketing partner, Eli Lilly & Company, are accused of withholding information from consumers and medical professionals on the medicine’s propensity to cause bladder cancer.

Actos, also known as pioglitazone, is an orally-ingested prescription drug designed to treat diabetes. The drug was FDA-approved in 1999 and in 2005 a PROactive study found that the medicine was associated with a higher risk of bladder cancer. These results, however, were not published until 2011. Despite evidence of these adverse side-effects, Actos earned Takeda roughly $4.6 billion in 2008. By 2011, the diabetes treatment made-up a quarter of the firm’s sales.

A Louisiana jury awarded Terrence Allen, a user of the prescription drug, $9 billion in damages in early April 2014 — specifically, $6 billion from Takeda and $3 billion from Eli Lilly. The judge concluded that Takeda had acted negligently and fraudulently by failing to disclose evidence of the relationship between Actos and bladder cancer to consumers and doctors. According to the evidence, Takeda, since as early as 2002, had acted to destroy electronic data and files that would have supported the plaintiff’s case.

Now, Blue Cross and Blue Shield have filed over 10 subrogation actions for damages related to insurance payouts to customers who allegedly developed bladder cancer as a consequence of Actos use. The insurers claim that Takeda and Eli Lilly were well aware of the risks, but had failed to warn patients and doctors of these hazards. Takeda and Eli Lilly are accused of negligence, fraud, breach of express and implied warranties, misrepresentation, and of violating Massachusetts law. According to Blue Cross, Takeda had knowledge about the link between Actos and bladder cancer from animal testing performed before Takeda filed for FDA approval. Furthermore, the company ignored several epidemiological studies that confirmed the link, during the early 2000s.

While Takeda and Eli Lilly have declared their intentions to appeal the April 2014 verdict against them and will resist this most recent lawsuit filed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, there are over 2,700 Actos lawsuits outstanding. This follows the FDA’s 2011 safety announcement concerning the prescription medication. Citing a ten-year epidemiological study, the FDA warned doctors to not prescribe the medication and urged patients to opt for alternative treatments. Additionally, two 2013 Actos-related verdicts, rewarding damages of $1.7 and 6.5 million respectively, were ultimately overruled. A third trial, in 2013, concluded in a decision favorable to Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

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If you or a loved one has suffered any adverse consequences from the use of Actos, or any other pharmaceutical product, and were not properly warned by the company responsible for its sale and manufacturing, you may be entitled to compensation. At the Atlanta and Columbus law offices of Pope McGlamry P.C. our highly trained and expert legal team has the experience and know-how to represent you and exact any recompense you deserve. Contact our office to schedule your FREE, no-obligation consultation today!