The latest in a string of trials alleging the popular diabetes drug Actos caused users to develop bladder cancer started last week in Philadelphia, with stakes high for Japanese manufacturer Taketa Pharmaceutical.
The company faces more than 7,500 lawsuits in federal and state courts around the country from patients who developed the disease after taking Actos.
With 8 trials to date, decisions have been split. A few courts have denied damages to victims. However, in October, a Philadelphia jury awarded a different victim $2 million in damages, while a Louisiana federal MDL jury awarded a record $9 billion that was later reduced to $38 million.
The Actos maker also received a strong blow in November when a court found they had intentionally destroyed documents to block an Actos case, awarding $155,000 in penalties.
The latest lawsuit claims John Kristufek, a retired teacher, developed bladder cancer in 2008 after taking Actos for three years.
Last week, former cancer research expert Dr. Alfred Neugut told the jury that based on many recent studies, he believes with medical certainty that Actos causes an increased risk of bladder cancer.
Lawyers also pointed out that Taketa now warns physicians that Actos may cause bladder cancer, a warning they didn’t give to patients or doctors before 2011.
Not surprisingly, lawyers for the maker of the drug argued that there is only an association between Actos and bladder cancer, but no reliable data to prove the drug actually causes the disease. They blame victims cancer on diabetes itself or a history of smoking.
The coming trials and jury decisions will be crucial in determining whether Taketa will agree to an Actos settlement this year rather than face thousands more public trials. DrugNews will continue to chart their progress.
Fair, M. Actos Caused Consumer’s Bladder Cancer, Philly Jury Hears. Law 360. (January 14, 2015). Retrieved from http://www.law360.com/articles/604370/actos-caused-consumer-s-bladder-cancer-philly-jury-hears
Fair, M. Expert Links Actos to Bladder Cancer in Philly Trial. Law 360. (January 15, 2015). Retrieved from http://www.law360.com/articles/611808/expert-links-actos-to-bladder-cancer-in-philly-trial
Last summer, the Department of Justice unveiled the details of an ongoing lawsuit and resulting settlement against industrial giant 3M, claiming the company had furnished defective combat earplugs to millions of U.S. troops serving around the world.