Takeda, Eli Lilly ordered to pay $9 billion over claims they hid Actos bladder cancer risks

by Michael Heygood

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and Eli Lilly & Co. have been ordered to pay a combined $9 billion over charges that the two companies hid evidence of a link between Actos and bladder cancer, a Louisiana jury has ruled. The award was the seventh largest ever handed down for a trial in the U.S., according to a study by Bloomberg News.

The lawsuit against Takeda and Eli Lilly involved the case of Terrence Allen, a New York man who was diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking Actos to treat his diabetes symptoms. Allen’s lawyers argued that Takeda and Eli Lilly were aware for years before Allen started taking Actos about the link between the diabetes drug and cancer, but failed to properly warn doctors and patients about the risks associated with the drug.

Jurors in Allen’s lawsuit agreed with this argument, finding that executives with Takeda knew for years about the link between Actos and bladder cancer, but failed to issue a warning about the cancer link. During that time, the company received numerous side effects reports from patients about cancerous tumors in their bladders, but failed to make this information available to doctors or health regulators.

After hearing arguments from attorneys for Allen and the two drugmakers, jurors agreed with Allen’s contention that Actos was the cause of his bladder cancer and that Takeda and Eli Lilly played a role in failing to warn him about the dangers of the diabetes drug. In addition to the $6 billion punitive damages award against Takeda and the $3 billion award against Eli Lilly, Allen was also awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages.

Eli Lilly and Takeda are currently facing thousands of additional lawsuits filed by Actos users over the link between the drug and bladder cancer. More than 2,700 lawsuits against the two companies in addition to Allen’s case are currently pending in Louisiana court. Takeda is also facing more than 3,400 lawsuits in Illinois filed by formers patients.

Once a blockbuster drug, Actos sales have plummeted as a result of litigation against the manufacturers and increased generic competition. Court documents revealed that Actos had generated more than $16 billion in sales since the drug was made available in 1999, including $4.5 billion in sales for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. But the release of a generic version of Actos sold by Ranbaxy Laboratories—combined with the thousands of lawsuits filed by former Actos users—has caused sales of the diabetes drug to fall rapidly.

Actos Litigation and Our Law Firm

Allen’s lawsuit was the first case to go to trial out of hundreds of federal lawsuits filed over the link between diabetes drugs such as Actos and an increased risk of bladder cancer. A federal multidistrict litigation (or “MDL”) established in Louisiana also includes hundreds of lawsuits filed by patients who used Actos or other diabetes medications, including ACTOplus Met, ACTOplus Met XR, Duetact, or pioglitazone.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson is pursuing Actos cases on behalf of clients and will be involved closely with the Actos MDL, as well as other Actos bladder cancer lawsuits. Our attorneys have spent years holding the makers of dangerous drugs and other medical devices responsible for the injuries and deaths caused by their products.

Above all else, the lawyers of Heygood, Orr & Pearson will work hard to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Our attorneys have tried over 200 cases to verdict and we have achieved verdicts and settlements for our clients totaling more than $200 million—including verdicts and settlements of more than $50 million in 2010 alone.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking Actos or another diabetes drug, you deserve compensation. For a free legal consultation about your case, contact the attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free case evaluation form on this website.

by Michael Heygood

Michael Heygood is a licensed attorney and partner at HO&P who focuses on insurance and corporate litigation, and other civil arenas. Michael has been named multiple times to the Super Lawyers List.