A Florida man alleges that he developed bladder cancer after taking the Type 2 diabetes drug, Actos (pioglitazone), for nearly seven years.
A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the man and is just one of thousands of lawsuits filed as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Florida. An additional claim in this lawsuit is that Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Actos, was aware of the drug’s risks but failed to release that information to the public. According to the complaint, the man began taking Actos in August 2005 and through July 2012; he began to suffer from bladder cancer in 2012, allegedly from use of Actos.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about the risks of taking Actos and 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.
Another, recent lawsuit accused Takeda Pharmaceuticals of putting profits before patient safety. Takeda officials were aware, as far back as 2005, that research revealed ties between Actos and increased risks of patients developing bladder cancer, according to the lawsuit, wrote Bloomberg News. Meanwhile, despite this knowledge, a warning about this link was not made for another six years, said the plaintiff’s family’s attorney, speaking in state court in Baltimore. The family of the deceased man brought the lawsuit and blames Actos for the man’s death from bladder cancer in 2012.
Jurors were told that executives at Takeda “knew the value of the drug and they knew the risks” Actos presented, yet chose to keep that information from the now-deceased man and his physicians, instead working to sell the controversial medication while patients continued to take the drug, Bloomberg News wrote.
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, according to Bloomberg News.
This lawsuit was filed on August 15, 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (Case No. 6:13-cv-2485); the MDL is entitled In Re: Actos (pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation (6:11-md-2299). Takeda Pharmaceuticals, America; Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. f/k/a Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc.; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited; and Eli Lilly and Company have been named as defendants. Jerrold S. Parker, founding partner of Parker Waichman LLP, serves on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.