Finally, it is official folks, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. has announced this week, that it will pay more than $2.4 billion to settle the pending Actos lawsuits over bladder cancer claims. Asia’s largest drugmaker agrees to settle more than 9,000 Actos bladder cancer lawsuits in federal and state courts in the U.S.
The settlement deal would average about $275,000 for each case, and would be the first settlement in the four year old litigation over the type 2 diabetes drug.
Actos Settlement Details
As is common in complex pharmaceutical ligation, a grid settlement matrix will be applied to the bladder cancer cases. Folks will be awarded points for their injury as a baseline, points will be deducted for pre-existing risk factors such as smoking, exposure to toxins known to cause bladder cancer and low cumulative dose of Actos.
Folks with a higher cumulative dose will get more settlement than folks who took Actos for less than a year. Folks who had pre-existing bladder cancer will get less than folks who developed bladder cancer while on Actos.
Plaintiffs who developed severe metastatic spread of the disease or died as a result of the cancer, will get the highest settlement. The exact amount payable is still being worked out, and plaintiffs can expect their settlement checks a year from now.
It just takes that much time to enroll the 9,000 plaintiffs into the settlement, review each person’s medical records and negotiate the amount to be paid back to the insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid to pay back the medical expenses incurred as a result of the cancer.
Important Dates and Deadlines
Plaintiffs must accept and opt in the settlement by July 15, 2015, so time is of the essence to return and complete the opt in forms. Plaintiffs must have taken Actos before December 2011 and diagnosed with bladder cancer after the use of Actos.
There are more than 4,000 federal personal injury, product liability lawsuits pending against Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly. The claims blame the companies for providing inadequate warnings about the risk of bladder cancer from Actos, a blockbuster type 2 diabetes drug.
Louisiana Federal Multi-district Litigation
Since December 2011, federal lawsuits have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Rebecca F. Doherty in the Western District of Louisiana, as part of an MDL, or Multi-District Litigation.
The first federal Actos trial ended in a record breaking $9 billion jury verdict last year. The jury found evidence that the drug makers deliberately destroyed documents about Actos and bladder cancer link. Takeda also deleted the files of 46 former and current employees, including those of top executives in Japan and U.S. sales representatives.
Judge Doherty post verdict, reduced the punitive damage award in the case to $37 million. The case is on appeal.
8,000 Actos Bladder Cancer Lawsuits Cannot Be Wrong
More than 4,000 Actos suits have been consolidated before a federal judge in Louisiana for pretrial information exchanges. According to court documents, Takeda is exposed to another 4,500 claims in state courts in Illinois, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Takeda is blamed for not disclosing that that Actos use can lead to bladder cancer. All of the lawsuits allege that Takeda knew or should have know about the increased risk of bladder cancer and yet failed to alert patients, doctors and the FDA. The Japan-based drugmaker agreed to the settlement thinking that it could avoid more huge verdicts and to put this litigation behind them.
The consolidated Actos cases in Louisiana are In Re Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation, 11-md-02299, U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana (Lafayette).