June 2, 2014 — A jury in Las Vegas has awarded a defense verdict in favor of Takeda Pharmaceuticals, ruling against two women who developed bladder cancer after using Actos (pioglitazone) to treat type-2 diabetes. Attorneys for the women are planning to appeal.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two women: Dolores Cipriano, 81, and Bertha Triana, 80, both residents of Nevada. Lawyers said they had a hard time convincing the jury that Actos caused their bladder cancer rather than age. Both women also took Actos for less than two years before developed bladder cancer.
Triana took Actos for 20 months between 2005 and 2008. She was diagnosed with bladder cancer in May 2012. Cipriano took Actos for nine beginning in August 2010. She was diagnosed with bladder cancer in July 2012.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, attorneys were seeking $60 million in compensatory damages — including $35 million for Triana and $25 million for Cipriano — and also a “couple billion dollars” in punitive damages. Instead, the jury awarded nothing.
The billion-dollar figure wouldn’t be out of the question, given a $6 billion punitive damage verdict against Takeda last month by a jury in Louisiana. A big factor in the eye-popping award was the fact that Takeda destroyed thousands of pages of documents on over 40 employees who were involved in the development and marketing of Actos.
It is the second big win for Takeda. Earlier this month, Takeda won a lawsuit that was filed on behalf of an Illinois man who died of bladder cancer in 2006. The victim, William Whitlatch, 57, was also a diabetic and a smoker. Defense attorneys argued that those factors caused his cancer.
The controversy surrounding Actos has been ongoing for years. In 2011, the FDA published a Safety Communication after a study found that people who took high doses of Actos for at least one year were 40% more likely to develop bladder cancer. Takeda is now facing over 3,000 Actos lawsuits in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2299) in Louisiana.
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