Actos Makers Continue to Face Bladder Cancer Claims

Lawsuits continue to be filed over Actos, a type 2 diabetes drug developed by Takeda and Eli Lilly. Plaintiffs in the litigation allege that Actos contributed to bladder cancer. Drug makers are accused of failing to disclose this risk to patients and their physicians. Court records indicate that a new Actos lawsuit was filed in June 2016.
The lawsuit, like others consolidated in the Actos multidistrict litigation (MDL) alleges that the plaintiff’s bladder cancer was a result of taking Actos. He alleges that the drug’s side effects ultimately led to economic damage due to medical bills and lost wages, mental and physical pain. The plaintiff took Actos for six years, according to the complaint.

At the time the June lawsuit was filed, the MDL contained over 4,500 lawsuits alleging Actos led to bladder cancer. MDLs are established when there are lawsuits with the same allegations. In order to make legal proceedings move quickly and efficiently, these lawsuits are centralized to one court before one judge. This consolidation helps eliminate duplicate discovery and conserves resources. In the Actos MDL, plaintiffs similarly allege that the manufacturers hid data linking Actos to bladder cancer.

In June 2011, regulators in France and Germany suspended sales of Actos after research linked the drug to an increased risk of bladder cancer. The study that prompted this action was commissioned by the French Medicines Agency; researchers found that patients taking Actos were 22 percent more likely to develop bladder cancer compared to patients taking other diabetes medications. Patients taking a cumulative dosage of 28,000 mg or higher had the greatest risk. The study analyzed data from 155,000 people taking Actos in France from 2006 to 2009 compared to 1.3 million diabetes patients not taking Actos.

Earlier this year, the British Medical Journal published a study suggesting that Actos was associated with a 63 percent increased risk of bladder cancer. Authors found that the risk was specific to Actos and the same relationship was not observed with other drugs in its class. The risk of bladder cancer also varied with dosage and duration of Actos use.

In April 2016, Takeda offered a settlement program that would pay $2.37 billion if 95 percent of eligible plaintiffs agree to participate. If 97 percent of eligible plaintiffs agree, the program would pay out $2.4 billion. To be considered eligible, plaintiffs must have been prescribed Actos, ACTOplus Met, ACTOplus Met XR or Duetact before December 1, 2011 and been diagnosed with bladder cancer before April 28, 2015. According to Bloomberg, each plaintiff could receive $296,000; this amount is adjusted based on factors such as smoking, age and exposure to toxins.

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