Takeda Pharmaceuticals, maker of the diabetes drug Actos, is facing its first trial out of the more than 3,000 lawsuits filed claiming that their blockbuster medication caused bladder cancer in some patients.
The first case, filed by cable repairman Jack Cooper, revolves around the claim that Cooper took Actos for more than two years and was never properly warned that it could lead to bladder cancer. Jury selection in the case, based in Los Angeles, is now underway. Cooper was 69 when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and today is gravely ill. His current critical condition is what prompted the presiding judge, Kenneth Freeman, to expedite his case to trial.
The case is an important one given that it involves a major drug, once the world’s top selling diabetes medication, that brought in $4.5 billion for it’s manufacturer in 2011. The drug has since been linked to bladder cancer and other ailments which led to thousands of lawsuits being filed against the company.
A court filing revealed that in 2003, Takeda executives were so concerned that Actos might be linked to cancer that they even asked doctors if they would be willing to prescribe a drug that contained a warning about cancer on its label. According to court papers, Takeda secretly surveyed more than a dozen doctors to see if they would have concerns about prescribing Actos if it carried a warning about a possibly fatal ailment. The survey showed that any bladder cancer warning would destroy sales of the blockbuster drug.
The company is also facing a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that it ignored risks that were raised about the drug’s potential to cause cancer. A former Takeda medical reviewer, Helen Ge, has filed suit against the company claiming it failed to send reports of congestive heart failure linked to the drug on to regulators at the FDA.
Takeda’s current approach is to defend itself saying that the drug had been cleared by the FDA which found it safe and effective. The company also maintains that there is no solid proof that the drug leads to bladder cancer. This runs counter to what FDA officials said when they conducted an analysis of a Takeda-sponsored study which revealed that some Actos users had an increased risk of developing heart problems and bladder cancer.
Given the studies linking Actos to bladder cancer 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 Faces First Trial Over Actos Diabetes Drug in L.A.,” by Jef Feeley, published at Bloomberg.com.
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