A plaintiff diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking the drug Actos will have his chance in court beginning today, Monday October 20th. This will be the first Actos trial in West Virginia over allegations that the diabetes drug causes bladder cancer. Actos attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm detail this case and others like it around the country.
Actos is a drug to treat type 2 diabetes, and was widely referred to as a ‘blockbuster drug’ when it was introduced in 1999. So-called blockbuster drugs are extremely popular medications that generate at least $1 billion in sales each year (some examples are Lipitor and Vioxx). Actos was launched in the U.S. by two pharmaceutical companies, Eli Lily and Takeda Pharmaceutical.
Due to massive litigation, many internal documents have been released that expose how much was known about Actos before it was introduced to American markets. The West Virginia plaintiff, for example, claims that the companies knew Actos could cause tumors. He bases this claim on preclinical studies Takeda conducted before 1999, involving tumors in male rats who took Actos.
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The West Virginia plaintiff, Richard Myers, was diagnosed with bladder cancer less than two years after starting on Actos. In his trial, the jury will hear arguments from both sides and decide whether to award Myers punitive (intended to punish Takeda and Eli Lily for their actions) and compensatory damages (meant as recovery for actual costs from his bladder cancer).
The jury will also hear about Takeda and Eli Lily’s efforts to destroy documents related to Actos. We have written about this before, after a jury awarded a man injured by Actos $9 billion. It was during this trial that it became clear the companies had intentionally destroyed evidence relating to its knowledge of Actos and its effects in the human body.
This $9 billion award is the seventh-largest in U.S. history; the judge decided on this massive award to punish Takeda and Eli for destroying evidence and to deter other pharmaceutical companies from engaging in such actions. Among the evidence destroyed before trial included internal communications about Actos, such as emails from over 45 employees. These documents, which had been under legal protection since 2002, could have irrefutably proven that Takeda knew about the risk of bladder cancer in Actos users.
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The West Virginia jury will be told of Takeda’s destruction of documents that proved the company wa aware of Actos’ cancer risks. Despite this evidence, it took the FDA over a decade to warn the public about the possibility of bladder cancer from Actos. The agency finally issued a warning in 2011 that discouraged doctors from prescribing Actos to diabetic patients with active bladder cancer – and that any patient taking Actos for over on year could develop the cancer.
That year, 2011, Actos generated more than $16 billion in sales for Takeda and Eli Lily. To put this in perspective, Actos has been on market for about 15 years, generating billions in sales every year. Takeda spends about $2 million on each Actos trial, however most cases will never reach a courtroom. There have been a handful of trials conducted, most of them ending in multi-million dollar awards to plaintiffs. Thousands more cases have been filed in state and federal courts accusing Takeda of failing to adequately warn patients and doctors of Actos’ true health risks.
Diabetic patients who developed bladder cancer from Actos use could be eligible for compensation through these lawsuits. Because of the difficulty of these cases, and how rigorously Takeda is denying its liability, potential plaintiffs should speak to an Actos attorney. Only a skilled and experienced lawyer can secure the best outcome for your case. Our team of Actos lawyers has been fighting on behalf of patients injured by defective drugs for 30 years. We provide free, confidential legal consultations to potential clients nationwide, and never charge any attorneys’ fees unless we are successful in your case.