Plaintiffs Demand $2 Billion from Takeda in Actos Trial
A Las Vegas jury has begun hearing arguments regarding potential safety problems linked to Actos, a medication designed and manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. The Actos trial began on August 27th, 2015 before Judge Jerry Wiese in the Las Vegas District Court.
During this high stakes trial, the counsel for the plaintiffs are expected to ask the jurors to award $2 billion in damages to George Decou and the estate of Maurice J. Iorio. Decou has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, which he contends is the result of his use of Actos. Iorio was also diagnosed with bladder cancer. He passed away from the disease on November 25, 2013 and his widow demands that Takeda be held accountable for her loss.
Actos unreasonably dangerous, claims plaintiffs
Actos (pioglitazone) is a medication prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes. Along with diet and exercise, Actos may help stabilize blood sugar levels. However, some patients have claimed that the drug also increased their risk of bladder cancer, a disease that may require surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Bladder cancer is known for its likelihood of recurrence, which may occur years after a patient has achieved remission.
The plaintiffs involved in the Las Vegas Actos trial claim that Takeda knew of alleged risks of the drug, yet failed to provide adequate warnings to patients and the healthcare community.
Jurors informed of intentional destruction of data
At the start of this trial, Judge Wiese informed members of the jury that the defendants had intentionally destroyed documents related to Actos cases. The Judge further told the jury that they could presume that these documents would have contributed to the plaintiffs’ case. Similar instructions were issued to the jury who heard an Actos trial regarding bladder cancer last year.
The counsel for the plaintiffs emphasized the intentional destruction of evidence by the defendants, noting that the hard drives of eight of Takeda’s executives were compromised even after the defendants were instructed to preserve this evidence. “Takeda Pharmaceuticals already acknowledged they have no ability to rebut the presumption that the evidence they destroyed, on a massive scale, was damning. To put it into perspective, they could have filled a football stadium with the amount of evidence they destroyed if it were printed on paper,” read the opening statement for the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs further argued that because Takeda apparently lacked the ability to deny that the destroyed evidence was damning, the jurors should only need to deliberate the question of damages.” Essentially, Takeda’s responsibility has already been determined, and by their own actions. When they illegally destroyed more than a million books worth of correspondence on hard drives they sealed their own fate,” said the counsel for the plaintiffs.
Previous developments in Actos litigation
There are still approximately eight thousand plaintiffs around the country who have Actos lawsuits pending against Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Reportedly, the defendants are looking ahead to possible settlement deals to resolve these lawsuits, presumably in an attempt to avoid more costly jury verdicts.
In 2014, a jury in Louisiana found Takeda liable for a staggering $9 billion after agreeing with the plaintiff that the defendants intentionally concealed the health risks of Actos. In October 2014, a judge ruled that a 99.6 percent reduction in this Actos jury award was appropriate and that the defendants would only be liable for $36.8 million.
- Las Vegas Review Journal, Las Vegas trial centers on diabetes drug Actos, http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/las-vegas-trial-centers-diabetes-drug-actos
- Reuters, Landmark Decision Expected In Actos Trial, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/01/eglet-actos-trial-idUSnPn63WlC5+8a+PRN20150601