A Philadelphia jury ordered Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. to pay more than $2 million in damages after finding that the company’s diabetes drug, Actos, contributed to the woman’s bladder cancer. The jury also found that the drug company failed to adequately warn physicians about the risks associated with the medication.
After five hours of deliberation, 8 out of 9 jurors agreed to award Frances Wisniewski $2,050,000 as part of a verdict finding that Takeda negligently failed to include adequate information about the potential links to bladder cancer. Wisniewski, a 79-year-old retired accountant, was diagnosed with bladder cancer after using Actos.
This case is the seventh out of thousands to go to trial, Bloomberg reported. Wisniewski’s case follows a $9 billion verdict this year in Louisiana against Takeda and Eli Lilly & Co. for hiding the diabetes medicine’s risks. The companies have asked a judge to grant them a new trial in that case.
More than 3,500 Actos lawsuits have been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty in Louisiana for pre-trial information exchanges, according to court dockets. The company faces another 4,500 cases in state courts in Illinois, W. Virginia, California and Pennsylvania, according to court records.
In Wisniewski’s case, Takeda argued that smoking rather than Actos use was the most likely cause of the Norristown, Pennsylvania resident’s cancer.
Former Actos users contend in court filings that Takeda researchers ignored or downplayed concerns about the drug’s cancer-causing potential before it went on sale in the U.S. and misled U.S. regulators about the medication’s risks.
During the three-week trial, evidence was presented that showed Takeda officials intentionally destroyed documents regarding the development, marketing and sales of Actos. As we have previously posted on our blog, Takeda is accused of destroying the files of 46 former and current employees, including those of top executives in Japan, and U.S. sales representatives, according to court filings.
In 2011, Actos use was suspended in France and Germany due to research linking the drug to an increased risk of bladder cancer. That same year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that Actos could significantly increase the risk of bladder cancer when used for more than one year. In May 2012, a study published in the British Medical Journal showed that Actos users have a higher risk of bladder cancer after two years. Two months later, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a study showing that Actos users had a 22 percent increased risk of bladder cancer.
Sales of Actos peaked in the year ended March 2011 at $4.5 billion for Takeda and accounted for 27 percent of the company’s revenue at the time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
In 2013, juries in California and Maryland ordered Takeda to pay a combined $8.2 million in damages over the company’s handling of the drug. The judge later threw those verdicts out.
Takeda faces its next Actos trial in state court in W. Virginia starting October 15th, according to court filings.
Although every drug comes with the risk of some side effects, it is important for pharmaceutical companies to disclose all relevant information about the dangers of a drug so that patients and doctors can weigh the benefits against the possible side effects and make an informed decision. If pharmaceutical companies intentionally withheld important information about dangerous drugs, or deliberately destroyed important documents, they may be subject to personal injury and pharmaceutical liability lawsuits when the truth finally comes out. These companies cannot put profits before safety.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878) for more information.