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Shezad Malik MD JD
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Actos Bladder Cancer Set for Federal Trial

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A late January trial is scheduled to begin for the first federal Actos trial. This trial is set to begin on January 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, and will be the first to go before a jury in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), which was established for all cases filed throughout the federal court system.

Federal Multidistrict Litigation

Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Actos’s manufacturer, is exposed to more than 2,600 Actos bladder cancer lawsuits. These cases are centralized as part of the MDL before U.S. District Judge Doherty in Louisiana for coordinated pre-trial discovery and a series of early test trials, known as “bellwether” cases.

Federal Actos Bellwether Trial

The plaintiffs are Terrence Allen and his wife, and according to the complaint, Allen used Actos from 2004 through May 2011, and was diagnosed with bladder cancer in January 2011. The lawsuit claims that the cancer was caused by Actos, and that Takeda Pharmaceutical failed to adequately warn consumers or the doctors about the potential risks associated with the diabetes drug.

Expert witnesses on behalf of Allen are expected to testify that Actos causes bladder cancer to progress more quickly, potentially developing within just a year of exposure.

Actos Litigation

Actos (pioglitazone) is a type 2 diabetes drug that has been used by millions of Americans. Concerns emerged in 2010 about a potential link between Actos and bladder cancer.

Many cases have been filed in various state courts throughout the country. Three trials have already taken place at the state level, with varying results.

In May 2013, a California jury awarded $6.5 million in damages over Actos bladder cancer case brought by Jack Cooper. That verdict was reversed after the state court judge excluded the plaintiffs’ expert witness testimony.

In September 2013, a trial in Maryland state court resulted in a jury finding that Takeda failed to adequately warn about the risk of bladder cancer from Actos and awarding $1.77 million in damages. The jury also found that the plaintiff failed to exercise reasonable care for his own health, which nullified the negligence of the drug maker.

Recently in Nevada state court, there was a defense verdict after the jury determined that both Actos and the plaintiff’s history as a smoker contributed to the development of bladder cancer. The plaintiff also used generic versions of Actos, which raised questions as to whether Actos or unknown factors in the generic versions could have contributed to the bladder cancer.