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After 33 grueling days of hotly contested trial testimony, the first federal Actos bladder cancer lawsuit verdict was reached. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., was hammered and ordered by a jury to pay $6 billion in punitive damages. This is probably a world record in punitive damages against a pharmaceutical company.

The jury in Lafayette, Louisiana, today issued the verdict to punish the company after earlier awarding $1.5 million in compensatory damages to the man who filed the lawsuit and blamed the drug for his cancer.

Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY), Takeda’s partner, was ordered to pay $3 billion in punitive damages. A total of $9 billion in punitive damages against 2 gigantic pharmaceutical companies. The jury sent a loud and clear message to the companies.

Federal Actos Trial: The Details

Terrance Allen’s trial began on February 3, as the first chosen “bellwether” case in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL). The federal MDL allows the pre-trial coordination and centralization of all Actos bladder cancer product liability lawsuits filed nationwide. The verdict of this trial was closely anticipated by both sides, a significant plaintiff’s win could pave the way to a global settlement, especially if there is a finding of gross negligence on part of Takeda, which would allow the award of punitive damages.

Judge Doherty ruled that Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Actos, acted in bad faith during the discovery process. As a result, the juries can be told that Takeda Pharmaceuticals hid or destroyed important thousands of documents.

Bellwether Federal Actos Trials

There are currently about 3,000 bladder cancer cases pending in the Actos MDL, before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty in the Western District of Louisiana. Bellwether trials, are common place in mass tort pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, where it is impractable to ligate thousands of cases. Furthermore, bellwether trials are established to determine how juries respond to evidence and repeated testimony.

Actos Litigation

Actos (pioglitazone) is a drug to treat type 2 diabetes. It was a blockbuster drug in terms of sales, that has been used by millions of Americans. In 2010 reports  surfaced about a potential link between Actos and bladder cancer. Thousands of product liability lawsuits have been filed against Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, the drug mamanufacturers for failure to research the medication and failure to provide sufficient warnings to patients and doctors.

Actos State Court Verdicts

In May 2013, a California jury awarded $6.5 million in damages to Jack Cooper, who was deadly ill from bladder cancer. But that verdict was thrown out after the state court judge excluded the plaintiffs’ expert witness testimony.

In September 2013, in Maryland state court, the jury found that Takeda was liable for lack of adequate warnings about the risk of bladder cancer from Actos and awarding $1.77 million in damages. Again, the jury findings were thrown out, because under Maryland law’s contributory negligence standard, the jury also found that the plaintiff failed to exercise reasonable care for his own health, because of his smoking history. Smoking is a powerful risk factor for causing bladder cancer.

Recently in Nevada state court, the jury found that both Actos and the plaintiff’s history as a smoker contributed to the development of bladder cancer. Confounding the case was that the plaintiff also ordered generic versions of Actos from online pharmacies, which raised questions as to whether Actos or unknown factors in the generic versions could have contributed to the bladder cancer.


One Comment

  1. Gravatar for BillG

    I took Actos and have been treated for bladder cancer. Both hips were replaced because of side effects from treatment. What action should I take?

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