Takeda Pharmaceutical has agreed to pay $2.4 billion to settle it’s product-liability lawsuits filed by patients and their relatives who claimed the company’s diabetes drug Actos caused bladder cancer. This would resolve the claims, which currently number about 9,000, made by plaintiffs’ lawyers that say Takeda concealed the cancer risk in Actos.
Although Takeda did not admit liability, it did agree to settle to “reduce the uncertainties of complex litigation.” It did say that the claims in the lawsuit were without merit and that the benefits greatly outweighed the risks of the medication. Despite the lawsuit, Actos is still available to consumers.
Besides the risk of bladder cancer, lawsuits are being filed for the following reasons. Actos: manufactured a defective product, failed to properly test the product, concealed testing and research data from the public, provided misleading data to the public, manufactured an unsafe product, knew the dangers of the product but sold it anyway to maximize profits, and breached warranty by selling a drug that was not fit for use. According to the FDA, there is also significant risk of congestive heart failure from taking Actos.
In order for the settlement to take effect, 95 percent of plaintiffs must agree to it. Each plaintiff would receive a variable amount however, dependent on factors including the cumulative dosage of the drug used, the extent of the injury, and the user’s smoking history.
Since 1999, sales of Actos have gone above $24 billion with more than 100 million prescriptions written. The Food and Drug Administration has added a warning about the risks of bladder cancer to the label back in 2011. It said that using the product for two years or more led to a 40 percent increased risk of bladder cancer.
In Louisiana, in the most lucrative individual case thus far, a jury awarded a plantiff $36.8 million. The verdict originally awarded $9 billion after the judge decided that Takeda had hidden the risks of cancer.