A Philadelphia jury recently awarded $2.3 million to a man who developed bladder cancer and had to have his bladder removed from taking the drug Actos. Actos is prescribed to type 2 diabetics and has been subject to massive litigation and billion-dollar verdicts. Actos attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm detail this most recent case.
The man, John Kristufek, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2008 after taking Actos for three years. In 2011, he had to have his entire bladder removed. That same year Actos finally updated its labels to include the risk of cancer. Kristufek filed suit in 2012.
In his case, Kristufek alleged that Actos’ manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, hid its association with bladder cancer from physicians. Ultimately, the jury awarded Kristufek $2.3 million in total damages, with $318,000 to compensate for past medical expenses. The jury concluded that Takeda acted in reckless disregard for patients in developing and marketing Actos.
In addition to the $2.3 million awarded to Kristufek, Takeda was also hit with $1.3 million in punitive damages. Punitive damages are considered punishment for defendants and are awarded only when the defendant’s behavior has caused severe harm. That brings the total award against to Takeda to $3.6 million.
Throughout trial the jury was shown evidence that Takeda’s sales representatives were told not to bring up the drug’s link to bladder cancer to physicians. Punitive damages are determined to prevent drug makers from engaging in this behavior again.
In April 2014, Takeda was hit with $6 billion in punitive damages for its conduct concerning Actos. This amount was likely due to the billions of dollars Takeda has reaped in profits between 2000 and 2012 – more than $24 billion.
This case and Kristufek’s are the only two cases against Actos that have resulted in punitive damages. Many plaintiffs have won their injury cases against Takeda, some of which in Philadelphia. In October 2014, for example, a jury awarded a woman with bladder cancer $2 million in damages.
Despite the known risk of an extremely debilitating and life-threatening disease, neither Takeda nor the FDA ever pulled Actos from the market. Actos – which is linked to an 83% increased risk of bladder cancer – has been recalled from Germany, India, and France, however.
The drug is also associated with liver failure, bone fractures, and heart conditions. Despite these risks and due in large part to its intense marketing plan, Actos became the world’s best-selling diabetes drug in 2007. These lawsuits against Takeda are the only way to make sure the company is punished for its overwhelmingly deceptive, dangerous, and fatal conduct; and to make sure it never engages in such behavior again. Prioritizing profits over patients has become the norm among Big Pharma. It’s time to make it stop.
Our team of Actos attorneys is currently investigating cases of bladder cancer from the use of this drug. If you or someone close to you developed bladder cancer after taking Actos, contact our firm immediately for a free case review.