It’s rare for product liability cases to award punitive damages. This type of compensation isn’t about compensating victims. It’s geared toward punishing the manufacturer.
Yet that’s just what Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. faces. Japan’s largest drug maker plans to contest the $6 billion punitive damages imposed on it. Punitive damages also were imposed on a co-defendant in the case, Eli Lilly Co., which also plans on contesting.
The case involves the popular diabetes drug, Actos. The accusations are that Takeda hid the risks of cancer linked to the medication. Three previous trials entered judgments in its favor. This latest multidistrict litigation case involved more than 2,900 lawsuits.
More than likely, the damages will be reduced or dismissed. The amount is viewed as excessive to some legal experts.
Punitive Damages vs. Compensatory Damages in a Pharmaceutical Drug Case
Certain types of cases don’t allow for punitive damages, depending on the state. In New York, they are recoverable in a product liability case. There has to be evidence of wanton or gross negligence. To recover these types of damages, the claimant must have received compensatory damages.
While there aren’t caps placed on punitive damages in New York, they can’t be grossly excessive. The case against Takeda could be an example of such.
The purpose of punitive damages is to deter others from acting in a similar manner. But it’s also a way of punishing the defendant. Compensatory damages address a plaintiff’s losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. They also can include pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, and more.
To learn more about the types of compensation recoverable for injuries or death caused by a dangerous drug, seek legal counsel. An attorney will consider the financial, physical and emotional losses suffered. Fill out our contact form if you want to hold another party liable for punitive damages in your case.