The first federal bellwether trial alleging that the diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone) caused bladder cancer begins today. The trial is taking place in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana before the Honorable Rebecca F. Doherty.
The plaintiffs in this trial are Terence Allen and his wife, Susan. Mr. Allen took Actos from 2004 to 2011 to treat his Type 2 diabetes; in 2011 he discovered that he had bladder cancer. Mr. Allen is one of many to allege that Actos caused the bladder cancer and the lawsuit accuses drug maker Takeda of hiding the drug’s risks from patients, their doctors, and the general public. In court documents, Mr. Allen said he would not have taken the drug if he had been aware of the risks of bladder cancer and other complications.
In recent years, Actos has been increasingly linked to a higher risk of bladder cancer. In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that taking Actos for more than a year could significantly increase the risk of bladder cancer and the safety label on Actos was updated to address this risk. Recent research studies provide additional support for the link. In May 2012 the British Medical Journal published a study that revealed Actos users were twice as likely to develop bladder cancer after two years on the drug. This was followed in July 2012 by a Canadian Medical Association Journal article reporting that patients taking Actos were 22 percent more likely to get bladder cancer.
The federal litigation is consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL): In Re: Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2299). Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm, has had a leadership role throughout the litigation, with the firm’s founding partner Jerrold S. Parker serving on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. The firm represents numerous individuals who developed bladder cancer after taking Actos.
This trial, which is expected to last about six weeks, is a bellwether trial in the litigation and its outcome may help determine the course of the remaining cases.