Actos drugmakers must pay man with bladder cancer $1.5 million in compensatory damages, $9 billion in punitive damages, jury says

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by Charles Miller

Terrence Allen is one of thousands of people who have filed claims against the drug companies behind the diabetes drug Actos. Mr. Allen has bladder cancer and says Actos is to blame. Allen sued Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and Eli Lilly & Co. alleging that company executives ignored or downplayed concerns about the drug’s cancer-causing potential and misled regulators about its risks to protect billions in sales. Allen alleged that Takeda didn’t provide a specific warning about the link between Actos and cancer of the bladder until seven years after the association was clear.

Allen’s case was recently tried to a jury in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty in Louisiana. Almost 3,000 federal lawsuits regarding Actos from around the country have been consolidated before Judge Doherty for pretrial purposes.

The jury found that Takeda and Eli Lilly failed to provide adequate warnings about Actos and awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages to Allen. Jurors also found that Takeda and Lilly executives “acted with wanton and reckless disregard” for patients’ safety in their handling of the drug and that punitive damages were justified against the companies. The jury ordered Takeda to pay $6 billion and Eli Lilly to pay $3 billion in punitive damages.

Takeda is Asia’s largest drugmaker. For several years, Eli Lilly served as Takeda’s U.S. partner in selling and marketing the drug. Takeda reportedly agreed to reimburse Lilly for any legal liability related to Actos. Thus, Takeda may be responsible for the full amount of any final judgment in Allen’s case.

Significantly, Allen and other Actos plaintiffs have alleged that Takeda officials intentionally destroyed documents about the development, marking and sales of Actos. The files of 46 former and current Takedo employees, including those of top executives in Japan and U.S. sales representatives, are missing. Judge Doherty penalized Takeda for failing to properly protect the Actos documents. The court notes that “[t]he breadth of Takeda leadership whose files have been lost, deleted or destroyed is, in and of itself, disturbing.” The judge instructed the jury in Allen’s trial that they could infer that the missing files may have supported Allen’s claims that the company wrongfully hid health risks regarding Actos.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson is pursuing Actos cases

Heygood, Orr & Pearson is pursuing Actos cases on behalf of clients and will be involved closely with the Actos MDL and other Actos bladder cancer litigation matters. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have extensive experience litigating defective pharmaceutical and medical device lawsuits. In fact, over the last few years, we have collected more than $200 million for our clients in lawsuits relating to defective pharmaceutical products.

To receive a free legal consultation and find out if you are eligible to file a case, please call our toll-free number at 1-877-446-9001, or fill out our free case evaluation form located on this website.