Type 2 Diabetes Drug, Actos Blamed on Another Death

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imgActos-300x179Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s Actos (pioglitazone) Type 2 diabetes medication is being blamed for the cancer death of a man who had taken the drug to control his diabetes.

The man’s surviving family feels that Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. should be found liable for the man’s death, according to the attorney for the wife and children, wrote Bloomberg.com. The Chicago jury was told that the man’s survivors should be awarded no less than $10 million for their pain, suffering, and financial losses resulting from the man’s death in 2006.

The trial has been ongoing for four weeks. Among other statements made in the closing arguments, the family’s attorney said that Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. never disclosed risks tied to Actos, according to Bloomberg.com. The case is the first of more than 3,000 cases filed in Illinois that have gone to trial.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning concerning the risks of taking Actos. On June 15, 2011, the agency indicated that taking Actos for more than one year might significantly increase a patient’s risk of developing bladder cancer. The agency also noted that the Actos safety label had been updated to address this risk.

Research has found a link between taking Actos and increased risks for developing bladder cancer. According to a British Medical Journal report on May 31, 2012, Actos users were twice as likely to develop bladder cancer after two years. On July 3, 2012, the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that Actos patients were 22 percent likelier to develop bladder cancer.

Lawsuit allegations similarly include that Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. researchers ignored or minimized Actos’ ties to cancer prior to selling the drug in the United States in 1999. Lawsuits also argue that Takeda misled U.S. regulators about these Actos risks.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. pulled Actos from the French market at that country’s regulator’s request; the German government also removed Actos from its reimbursed list of drugs, Bloomberg News, previously reported.

Some of the symptoms of bladder cancer include blood in the urine, frequent urination, and pain when urinating.

Meanwhile, a federal jury recently ordered Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly & Co. to pay a combined $9 billion in punitive damages to a man who had brought the case, finding that Actos makers hid the bladder cancer risks associated with the diabetes drug. The jury found that the drug caused the man’s disease and that Takeda and Lilly both “failed to adequately warn” about the risks, Bloomberg News reported. The jury said Takeda and Lilly executives “acted with wanton and reckless disregard” for patient safety, and this justified the punitive damage award. Takeda is to pay $6 billion, Eli Lilly $3 billion.

During the trial, the man alleged that he developed bladder cancer after taking Actos for more than five years starting in 2006. His attorneys said Takeda executives ignored or downplayed cancer risks and misled regulators to protect billions of dollars in sales. Specific Actos cancer warnings were not released until 2011, seven years after experts said the link became clear and 12 years after Actos arrived on the market in the U.S., according to Bloomberg.com.