Takeda Knew in 2004 of Cancer Link
According to court documents, Takeda knew by 2004 that studies found links between Actos and cancer, and didn’t issue a warning until seven years later to protect billions of dollars in Actos sales.
Takeda Put “Profits Before People”
“Takeda chose to protect profits rather than patients,” Miller, the plaintiff’s attorney, said in closing arguments in Wisniewski’s trial. The company’s main goal was “to protect the product,” Miller added.
3,500 Actos Bladder Cancer Lawsuits in Federal Court
Takeda, tanked another diabetes drug in 2014 when research linked it to liver damage. More than 3,500 Actos suits have been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty in Lafayette, Louisiana, for pretrial discovery, in what is known as Multidistrict Litigation (MDL).
4,500 Actos Bladder Cancer Lawsuits in State Court
The company is exposed to another 4,500 cases in state courts in Illinois, West Virginia, California and Pennsylvania. Can over 8,000 plaintiffs be wrong, with more injured folks waiting the wings?
Actos: Blockbuster Drug Huge Profits
According to Bloomberg, sales of Actos maxed out in March 2011 at $4.5 billion for Takeda and accounted for 27 percent of the company’s revenue. Actos has raked in more than $16 billion in sales since its 1999 release.
Wisniewski and other users allege that Takeda researchers ignored or downplayed concerns about the Actos bladder cancer links before it went on sale in the U.S. and misled U.S. regulators about the diabetic medication risks.
Key Documents Destroyed
The jury found that the Takeda officials intentionally destroyed documents about the development, marketing and sales of Actos. The company ditched files of 46 former and current employees, including those of top executives in Japan and U.S. sales representatives. “We’ll never know what was in those documents,” Miller said.
Of eight lawsuits to go to trial, five have resulted in awards to the plaintiffs. These have included $2 million in damages to Wisniewski, and $6.5 million to a man and his wife (Cooper v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc., et al, case number CGC-12-518535).
In 2013, juries in California and Maryland ordered Takeda to pay a combined $8.2 million in damages. But those verdicts later were tossed out by judges. The company also won defense verdicts recently in two cases in state court in Las Vegas.
The Pennsylvania case is Wisniewski v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc., 120702272, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. The consolidated Actos case in Louisiana is In Re Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation, 11-md-02299, U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana (Lafayette).