April 8, 2014 - In a landmark trial, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly were ordered to pay a combined $9 billion in punitive damages after a jury determined the companies hid the bladder cancer risk associated with their highly-profitable diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone). The massive award ranks as the seventh largest punitive verdict in U.S. history, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. The complaint alleged that Takeda and Eli Lilly downplayed or ignored concerns about Actos’ link to bladder cancer, and mislead federal health officials in order to protect billions in sales.
Free Actos Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured by Actos, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturers of Actos and we can help.
What’s the Problem?
According to the terms of the agreement, Takeda will pay $6 billion and Eli Lilly will pay $3 Billion, though Takeda may end up paying any final judgment in the case due to a pre-existing indemnity agreement between the companies. The jury previously awarded former Actos user Terrance Allen $1.5 million in compensatory damages, who developed bladder cancer after taking the drug. To date, over 2,700 Actos Lawsuits have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) for pretrial handling in Louisiana before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty. That case is: In Re Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation, 11-md-02299, U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana (Lafayette).
Allen claimed in his Actos Lawsuit that Takeda officials knowingly ignored or downplayed knowledge of the medicine’s cancer-causing ability, and misled regulators about its potential health risks to protect profits. Takeda didn’t warn about Actos’ potential to cause bladder cancer until 2011, a full seven years after experts said the link became clear, and 12 years after the drug was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Takeda officials have stated that Actos “was vital to the company’s survival,” which is likely why it was so reluctant to acknowledge the drug’s cancer risks.
Takeda Accused of Destroying Evidence
Additionally, Takeda has been accused of intentionally destroying documents related to the development, marketing and sales of Actos. According to court documents, the company ditched files of 46 former and current employees, including many top executives and sales representatives. Upon learning this information, Judge Doherty penalized Takeda by telling jurors they could infer that the files may have backed Allen’s claims the company knowingly hid information about Actos’ potential health risks.
“The breadth of Takeda leadership whose files have been lost, deleted or destroyed is, in and of itself, disturbing,” Doherty said.
After deliberations, the jury determined that Takeda and Eli Lilly had “failed to adequately warn” about the link between Actos and bladder cancer, and that the medication caused Allen’s disease. Jurors also found that the companies “acted with wanton and reckless disregard” for patients’ safety in their handling of Actos, which justified a hefty punitive damage award.
Allen’s case is: Allen v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc., 12-cv-00064, U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana (Lafayette).
Do I Have an Actos Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Actos Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new Actos bladder cancer cases in all 50 states.
Free Actos Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured by Actos, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing an Actos Suit and we can help.