On Monday April 7, 2014 a Federal Jury in Louisiana returned a $9 Billion Dollar Punitive Damages Verdict against Takeda Pharmaceutical and Eli Lilly. The actual damages awarded was $1.5 Million. The Plaintiffs in the case, Terrence and Susan Allen, proved to the jury that the diabetes drug Actos caused cancer, and that the Pharmaceutical Companies was aware of the risk that Actos caused bladder cancer but concealed the risk from consumers. Actos is a drug that doctors often prescribe to treat Type II diabetes.
Punitive Damages are awarded to deter bad behavior by corporations. In this Actos trial, the Plaintiffs alleged that even before Takeda sent in its application for FDA Approval of Actos, it was aware of animal studies showing that Actos could cause bladder cancer. Instead of reporting and warning consumers of this danger, Takeda and Eli Lilly sold $16 Billion Dollars worth of Actos. Eventually, in 2011, the FDA issued a safety announcement stating that:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is informing the public that use of the diabetes medication Actos (pioglitazone) for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. Information about this risk will be added to the Warnings and Precautions section of the label for pioglitazone-containing medicines. The patient Medication Guide for these medicines will also be revised to include information on the risk of bladder cancer.
Lawsuits against the manufacturer and marketers of drugs such as Actos are essentially product liability lawsuits, and they are often handled in Multi District Litigation (MDL) in Federal Court. The Actos MDL is based out of the Central District of Louisiana and this verdict was one of the bell weather trials used by parties and mediators to assess the settlement potential of large numbers of Actos cases. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking Actos, please call a Silver Spring injury lawyer at (888) 213-8140 for a free phone consultation.