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Actos Bladder Cancer Lawsuit Filed in California Court

What do Robert James Atkin Jr., Harlan O. Erickson, Eugene Walter Gamble, Gerald Higgins, Philip L. Hughes, John Theodore Mitchell, Melvin P. Nicholas and Kenneth Trossman all have in common? The answer is that they are all suing Takeda Pharmaceuticals for manufacturing a diabetes drug that, they believe, caused them to develop bladder cancer. The plaintiffs filed a joint Actos bladder cancer lawsuit with the Superior Court of Los Angeles on May 9, 2013.

What happened?

The plaintiffs come from different states – California, Colorado, New York, Indiana, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota and Illinois – but they all suffered the same consequence of taking Actos. Some plaintiffs were diagnosed as early as 2005, while others received a diagnosis as recently as June 2012. All plaintiffs had developed bladder cancer within two to five years of taking Actos to regulate their blood sugar levels.

Whose fault is it?

According to the Actos bladder cancer lawsuit, “[The] Defendants concealed and continue to conceal their knowledge of Actos’ unreasonably dangerous risks from Plaintiffs, their physicians, or other consumers and the medical community.”

The complaint goes on to say that Takeda failed to inform consumers and their doctors of the elevated risk associated with taking the drug for more than 12 months.

They further allege that the Defendant “researched, analyzed, calculated and considered the effect of Actos use on patients ingesting the drug,” although it is unclear what proof the Actos lawyer has that the company conducted internal testing on the matter.

What does the FDA say?

On June 2011, the FDA issued a safety announcement that the use of Actos for more than a year “may be associated” with an increased risk of bladder cancer. In their study, people exposed to Actos for more than 12 months had a 40% increased risk of developing bladder cancer. Despite this evidence, the FDA said it will hold off on its assessment until the full 10-year study is complete in September 2020, according to ABC News.

What damages are being sought?

The causes of action in the suit include:

  • Defective design
  • Failure to warn
  • Negligence

The plaintiffs are seeking more than $25,000 in damages each, as a result of having been “seriously injured” – which includes suffering mental and emotional pain, sustaining permanent injuries, and enduring economic loss.

Case background

Despite the fact that there are more than 3,000 similar cases filed against the Actos drug manufacturer, the case is not going to be an easy win. Last month, the first Actos bladder cancer lawsuit reached a verdict following a 9-week trial. A jury awarded $6.5 million to 79-year-old Jack Cooper of California and his wife, Nancy, for damages suffered as a result of taking Actos.

Cooper been on the drug for five years before being diagnosed with bladder cancer. According to his lawyer, the case was proved by a document where Takeda told sales reps to emphasize “sell, sell, sell” when speaking with doctors and to avoid the discussion about bladder cancer.

However, Takeda filed motions with the court to prevent the jury from hearing expert testimony from Coopers’ doctor that would support the case. The judge granted the motion after the trial had finished, stating that the doctor’s testimony turned out to be “inherently unreliable,” which justified throwing the case out. Takeda lawyers argued that Cooper likely developed bladder cancer because he was an elderly male who suffered from diabetes and smoked for many years – which put him in a high risk category for the illness.

After the motion was granted, the Coopers’ lawsuit was dismissed, despite the jury’s verdict. Cooper’s Actos lawyer says an appeal is planned. Takeda is also scheduled to face a trial of multiple consolidated cases before a federal Louisiana judge in January, according to court filings.