Doctor Testifies That Actos Was The “Most Substantial” in Man’s Cancer


Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s Actos (pioglitazone), is being blamed for a man’s terminal bladder cancer, according to the man’s physician.

In the first product liability trial of its kind, said Law360, the Type 2 diabetes drug, Actos, was found to be “the most substantial causative factor” in the California man’s terminal bladder cancer, said his urologist. Dr. Norm D. Smith, an associate professor of surgery and urology at the University of Chicago Medical Center testified for the plaintiff and told the Los Angeles jury that the plaintiff’s taking Actos from 2006 to 2011 was the primary reason he became ill.

Smith told jurors under direct examination that the plaintiff did not have a family history of cancer and his history of cigarette smoking was not sufficient to account for the cancerous tumor in his bladder, said Law360. Rather, said Smith, it was the plaintiff’s prolonged Actos exposure—some “55,000 milligrams” over five years—that was “the most substantial causative factor” in the plaintiff’s bladder cancer diagnosis.

The plaintiff, a 79-year-old former cable splicer for Pacific Bell, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in December 2011 after having taken Actos for more than five years, said Law360. He has been given two to eight months to live, said his attorney.

The case is the first of some 3,000 nationwide to go to trial and alleges that Takeda neglected to sufficiently warn doctors of the health risks of Actos. This case is being heard first due to the plaintiff’s grave prognosis.

As we’ve written, in this first Actos lawsuit, prior witness testimony indicated that drug maker, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., put money before patient safety when it came to Actos.

A growing body of research suggests that Actos is associated with an increased risk of developing bladder cancer. In fact, in June 2011, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the warning label on Actos would be updated to include this risk. The new label also warns that using Actos for more than one year may significantly increase the risk of developing bladder cancer; data is based on an ongoing, 10-year study conducted by Kaiser Permanente.

Last May, the BMJ published a study that revealed that patients who took Actos for two years were twice as likely to develop bladder cancer. Another study, published last summer in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that use of Actos was linked to a 22 percent increased risk of developing bladder cancer.

Thousands of people have come forward who believe they’ve either contracted bladder cancer or have unknowingly been put at risk of this life-threatening disease because Takeda Pharmaceutical hid evidence that revealed its popular drug was linked to this dangerous side effect.

Meanwhile, noted Bloomberg News previously, in 2011, FDA officials discovered that a review of a Takeda-sponsored study revealed some Actos users were at an increased risk of developing not just bladder cancer, but heart problems, as well, Takeda pulled Actos from the German and French market that year in response to regulators there.

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