Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, a major prescription drug manufacturer based in Osaka, Japan has recently been ordered to pay more than $2 million in compensation to a Pennsylvanian woman who claims that her bladder cancer was caused by Actos, a popular antidiabetic. A Philadelphia jury found that Takeda to have failed to warn the patient about the drug’s bladder cancer risk, and thought that the medication label did not include sufficient information. This verdict follows a $9 billion compensation package a Louisiana jury awarded plaintiffs in another trial earlier this year.
Pioglitazone, sold under the brand name Actos, is a prescription drug used to treat diabetes. The medication is alleged to cause bladder cancer, an allegation which has been supported by a number of scientific studies:
- A 10-year study conducted by Kaiser Permanent Northern California, which began in 2002, found that patients who took Actos for more than 12 months faced a 40 percent increase in the risk of bladder cancer.
- Similar results were published in an article by the French Medicines Agency, which examined 1.5 million patients between 2006 and 2009.
- An April 2011 report by the American Diabetes Association stated that researchers “found a definite signal for bladder cancer associated with pioglitazone use.”
- In a May 2012 study published in the British Medical Journal, the authors studied 115,727 patients and found that the risk of bladder cancer increased by 87 percent.
Patients and doctors charge Takeda with neglecting to inform them of the heightened risk of bladder cancer associated with Actos. The pharmaceutical manufacturer has also been accused of destroying evidence relating to Actos in 2002, including emails and other documents containing relevant information about the drug. Over 3,500 Actos lawsuits have been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty in Lafayette, LA, and another 4,500 cases are outstanding in state courts in Illinois, West Virginia, California, and Pennsylvania.
Frances Wisniewski was the seventh Actos patient to take her lawsuit to trial, where she and her attorneys faulted Takeda for failing to warn her and her doctor about the prescription drug’s bladder cancer risks. The company was also charged with not having provided sufficient information on the medication’s label. Although Takeda argued that Wisniewski’s condition was caused by smoking and other “risk factors” for cancer, the jury ultimately agreed with the plaintiff and awarded her $2,050,000 in compensation. They, however, rejected Wisniewski’s attorney’s argument for punitive damages for the 2002 destruction of relevant documents, determining that Takeda had not shown conscious disregard for patients.
Takeda was ordered to pay $6 billion in punitive damages to plaintiffs Susan and Terrence Allen, the latter of which had developed bladder cancer after prolonged Actos-use, in a trial held earlier in 2014. This case is currently on appeal. The company was able to successful overturn a combined compensation of $8.2 million, awarded by juries in California and Maryland in 2013. Takeda faces its next Actos-related lawsuit on October 15, 2014 in West Virginia state court.
Pharmaceuticals Owe Patients a Duty of Care
Pharmaceutical drug manufacturers, such as Takeda, owe their patients a duty of care, which includes informing patients on the risks of using their products. Takeda failed to meet this legal obligation to patients and doctors, to warn the public and health care providers about Actos’ bladder cancer risks. They have also been accused of providing misleading data to the public, concealing test results and research data, failing to adequately test the product, manufacturing an unsafe and defective product, and putting their profits ahead of the safety of consumers.
Persons who used Actos and developed bladder cancer as a result may be eligible for compensation for lost income, medical expenses, loss of consortium, and non-economic costs, including pain and suffering. If you are a victim of Takeda’s negligence, please contact Pope McGlamry; we can help you protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve: 877.285.7656.