A Louisiana federal judge has slashed a record-setting $9 billion verdict against diabetes drug manufacturers to $36.8 million—more than a 99% reduction.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty of the Western District of Louisiana denied a motion by the defendants for a new trial in the first bellwether case, alleging that taking Actos increased the risk of bladder cancer.
Doherty also concluded that the punitive damages award was not “unreasonable given the evidence presented of a high degree of reprehensibility of the defendants’ conduct and the need to adequately deter such conduct in the future.”
The judge said that the jury was allowed to award punitive damages, the purpose of which are to punish defendants for engaging in willfully malicious conduct.
However, after finding that the ratio of punitive compared to compensatory damages was unconstitutionally excessive, she reduced the award. Punitive damage awards are capped under federal law at about 25 times the compensatory damages. The award was cut to the maximum allowable under federal law. She issued an amended final judgment reducing punitive damages to $27.6 million against Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. and $9.2 million against Eli Lilly and Co. Takeda says they will appeal.
Doherty had previously reduced an award of $1.475 million in compensatory damages to $1.27 million. She had denied a motion by Takeda and Eli Lilly & Co. to reject the verdict as a matter of law.
Actos reached $4.5 billion in sales at its peak in 2011. After the FDA warned about the studies linking Actos to a 40 percent increase in bladder cancer, sales sharply declined.
The $9 billion punitive damage award was partially motivated by Takeda destroying massive amounts of pertinent documents on 46 employees, including top executives who were involved in the development and marketing of Actos. They were accused of deliberately destroying the documents to conceal critical evidence regarding bladder cancer risks of Actos to protect billions in sales with no regard to patient safety. Judge Doherty told they jury they were allowed to infer that documents contained critical evidence.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking Actos, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact one of our experienced Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878) for a free consultation.