April 8, 2014 — A jury in Louisiana has ordered Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly to pay a combined $9 billion in punitive damages to a man who took Actos (pioglitazone) and got bladder cancer, according to Bloomberg News.
The verdict includes $6 billion in punitive damages against Takeda, the manufacturer of Actos and Asia’s largest pharmaceutical company. Eli Lilly, the co-marketer of Actos in the United States, was found liable for another $3 billion in damages.
Takeda general counsel Kenneth Greisman stated:
“Takeda respectfully disagrees with the verdict and we intend to vigorously challenge this outcome through all available legal means, including possible post-trial motions and an appeal.”
It is the seventh-largest jury award in U.S. history, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and will likely be reduced. The U.S. Supreme Court says that punitive verdicts must be proportional to compensatory damages. The plaintiff, Terrence Allen, was previously awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages. Judges in Maryland and California have thrown out jury verdicts totaling $8.2 million.
A major factor in the verdict is the destruction of vital documents about the development, marketing, and sales of Actos. Takeda lost or destroyed thousands of files on 46 current and former employees. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty penalized Takeda for destroying the documents. She is also overseeing more than 2,700 Actos lawsuits in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL).
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