On Monday, a jury in Louisiana awarded Terrence and Susan Allen over $9 Billion (that’s right: $9,000,000,000+) in the first federal jury decision in the Actos® (pioglitazone) multidistrict litigation. Takeda, the largest pharmaceutical company in Asia, developed Actos and partnered with Eli Lilly to market and sell its diabetes blockbuster.
Allen’s lawsuit (Terrence Allen, et al. v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc., et al., No. 6:12-cv-00064) alleged that Takeda and Eli Lilly corporate executives knew Actos increased the risk of bladder cancer but hid results of clinical studies to increase sales (which totaled over $16 billion). Actos is prescribed to adults with type 2 diabetes to control blood sugar. It is sold as a single-ingredient product and in combination with metformin (Actoplus Met®, Actoplus Met XR®) and glimepiride (Duetact®).
The FDA estimates that approximately 2.3 million patients filled a prescription for drugs containing pioglitazone (generic for Actos) between January 2010 and October 2010. On June 15, 2011, the FDA released a Safety Announcement to warn the public that use of Actos for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. The five-year results of the FDA’s ongoing safety review revealed that “an increased risk of bladder cancer was noted among patients with the longest exposure to pioglitazone, and in those exposed to the highest cumulative dose of pioglitazone.” Further, France suspended the use of Actos and German health authorities advised against prescribing Actos to new patients.
Before the trial began, Judge Rebecca Doherty issued a 75-page opinion finding that Takeda breached its duty to preserve evidence. Judge Doherty concluded that “relevant evidence was deleted by Takeda after the duty to preserve such evidence arose.” The judge also found the plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence of “bad faith on the part of Takeda” and that the destroyed evidence “would have been both relevant and beneficial to the Plaintiffs’ cases.”
After deliberating for four hours, the jury found that Takeda and Eli Lilly “failed to adequately warn” about Actos increasing the risk of bladder cancer and that company executives “acted with wanton and reckless disregard” for patient safety. Jurors awarded the plaintiffs $1,475,000 in compensatory damages and charged Takeda and Eli Lilly with $6 billion and $3 billion in punitive damages, respectively.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury from a Actos, we encourage you to contact us for a free case evaluation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-664-1734.