Actos Maker, Takeda, Hid Drug’s Risks from Patients, Doctors

takeda_hid_actos_risksAnother Actos lawsuit alleges that Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., the maker of the Type 2 diabetes drug, put profits before patient safety and “duped” patients.

The lawsuit states that Takeda should be held liable in the cancer death of a former United States Army translator, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The case is the second of more than 3,000 lawsuits that have been brought over Actos to come to trial. In the first case, a California jury ordered Takeda to pay $6.5 million in damages to man who alleged that Actos caused his bladder cancer, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. In that case, the judge overturned the verdict; the family appealed.

In this case, Takeda officials argue that the plaintiff’s bladder cancer was not caused by his having taken Actos and Takeda appropriately warned consumers and physicians about Actos’ risks, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. According to one of the drug maker’s attorneys, in closing arguments, research has not conclusively tied Actos to bladder cancer, saying that the connections made, to date, have been based on “tenuous science.”

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

Research has also shown the link between taking Actos and increased risks for developing bladder cancer. The British Medical Journal published a study on May 31, 2012 that revealed that 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.

Plaintiffs in Actos cases argue that Takeda researchers ignored or minimized the diabetes drug’s ties to cancer prior to its sale in the United States in 1999. Lawsuits also argue that Takeda misled U.S. regulators about these risks.

More than 1,200 lawsuits against Takeda over Actos have been consolidated before a federal judge in Louisiana for pretrial information exchanges. The first federal case is scheduled for trial in January, court filings indicate, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Takeda 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 are:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling pain when urinating
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