Lawyers accuse Takeda of hiding Actos bladder cancer risk from doctors

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by Heygood Orr and Pearson

Lawyers in the first Actos lawsuit to go to trial say that the manufacturer of the drug failed to warn doctors about the bladder cancer risk of the diabetes medication. Attorneys representing former Actos user Jack Cooper say that Takeda Pharmaceuticals failed to alert Cooper’s doctor that Actos could increase his patients’ risk of bladder cancer despite making more than 195 office visits to discuss Actos and other products.

Actos is a prescription medication used to treat type II diabetes. After concerns were raised about the cardiovascular risks of another diabetes drug, Avandia, Actos became the top-selling diabetes drug in the U.S. However, health experts have since raised serious health concerns about Actos, warning that patients who take the drug for more than one year are significantly more likely to develop bladder cancer.

In court, Cooper’s Actos lawyers stated that Takeda failed to alert doctors that Actos could increase the risk of bladder cancer when it went on the market in 1999. It was only after Actos was recalled in France and Germany that the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about Actos and bladder cancer acknowledging that the drug could increase a patient’s risk of the disease. Cooper’s doctor testified that after he was informed about the Actos bladder cancer link in August 2011 he stopped writing prescriptions for the drug and banned Takeda’s sales representatives from his office.

Takeda is facing more than 3,000 lawsuits from patients who allege that they developed bladder cancer after taking the drug. The company recently won FDA approval for the sale of a new diabetes medication, known as Nesina, after losing patent protection for Actos in 2012.