Last Spring, a federal jury found that the makers of the diabetes drug Actos knew about and concealed the drug’s cancer risks. The plaintiff in that case was a New York man who claims his bladder cancer was caused by Actos.
The jury awarded the plaintiff $1.5 million in compensatory damages and, additionally, a $9 billion punitive damages award was ordered against the manufacturers. This amounted to $6 billion against Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals and $3 billion against Eli Lilly, which co-marketed the drug.
After the trial, charges have been made that Takeda’s company and its lawyers concealed evidence. In late June, the judge formally admonished Takeda for destroying evidence in the case. A later decision will consider attorney misconduct regarding Takeda’s defense team.
Actos is the brand name of the prescription drug pioglitazone, which was approved by the FDA to treat Type 2 diabetes in 1999. In July 2011, the FDA issued a warning that Actos “may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer” after use for more than one year. This came after long-term studies showed not just a cancer link, but a high cancer link – patients who used Actos for more than one year had up to a 40% increased chance of developing cancer.