Jury selection was completed on Monday, January 27 in the first bellwether case in the Actos bladder cancer litigation. After pretrial matters January 30, testimony will begin February 3, with the trial expected to last six weeks.
This case was brought by Terrence Allen and his wife. Mr. Allen took Actos (pioglitazone) from 2004 to 2011 to help treat his Type 2 diabetes. In 2011 he learned that he had developed bladder cancer, allegedly caused by Actos. Mr. Allen further alleges Takeda, the drug’s manufacturer, hid Actos’s risks from consumers. 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 health complications.
In 2011, the U.S. 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. Attorneys for former Actos users have said in court documents that Takeda was aware of such risks as early as 2004 but delayed for years before informing government regulators.
Two recent research studies provide support for a link between Actos and bladder cancer. 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. Two months later, an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that patients taking Actos were 22 percent more likely to develop bladder cancer.
Bellwether cases play an important role in large litigations like this. The outcome of bellwether cases can indicate trends in the litigation and can provide a basis for negotiating a settlement.
Some 2,700 lawsuits are part of the Actos multidistrict litigation, In Re: Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2299), taking place in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, with the Honorable Rebecca F. Doherty, presiding. Parker Waichman LLP has taken a leadership role in the Actos litigation, with Jerrold S. Parker, a founding partner of the firm, serving on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.