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Australians Look to Join Actos Class Action Lawsuit

Australia resident Peter Marshall has filed a claim in U.S. Court against Actos manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Inc., alleging that he developed bladder cancer as a result of taking the diabetes drug. Marshall, 69, has no family history or risk factors for bladder cancer other than taking Actos for more than two years, which studies say doubles a patient’s risk of developing this rare form of cancer. Marshall says that the life-changing cancer diagnosis came as a complete shock because of the lack of warnings available to Australians.

Marshall’s attorneys say that even after Actos was taken off the market in France and Germany, and even after the FDA issued a serious, “black box” warning about Actos in the US, Australian doctors and patients remained uninformed of the risks. The Australian Actos lawyers are seeking additional patients with similar experiences, and Australian media outlets are reporting that citizens of Australia and New Zealand can now join an Actos class action lawsuit for the first time.

Actos cancer lawsuits in the United States

There are currently over 3,000 Actos cancer lawsuits pending in the United States in state and federal courts. American lawsuits allege that Takeda deliberately concealed information from the FDA, doctors, and the public, beginning as early as 2004 and persisting until 2011 when the FDA finally made the company issue safety warnings about the increased risk of bladder cancer. Internal documents show Takeda executives urging sales representatives to avoid the topic of bladder cancer in order to sell more product, and conspiring to avoid publicizing and updating FDA warnings about the dangers of Actos.

As an alternative to an Actos class action lawsuit, American plaintiffs have filed individual lawsuits in hopes of receiving a larger settlement or verdict based on the severity of their injuries. These lawsuits are being conducted in state courts as multi-county litigation (also known as or mass tort) and in federal courts as multi-district litigation (MDL).

Actos class action lawsuit vs. multidistrict litigation

Multi-county litigation (MCL) and multi-district litigation (MDL) are similar to a class action lawsuit in that they involve plaintiffs with similar injuries, make similar factual claims, and are directed at the same defendants. Like a class action suit, these cases will share a single pre-trial procedure, called discovery, in which expert witnesses give information and documents are shared between plaintiffs and defendants. Unlike a class action, the cases will be tried individually, and if a settlement is reached, the value of the settlement may be decided on a case-by-case basis.

There are currently over 200 lawsuits consolidated in MCL in California state court, about 1500 in MCL in Illinois state court, and over 1500 in MDL in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Louisiana.

The first lawsuit to go to trial, Cooper v. Takeda, was tried in Los Angeles and resulted in a $6.5 million jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff, Jack Cooper. This verdict was overturned by the presiding judge, whose decision is now being appealed by Cooper’s attorneys. The first trial in the federal MDL is scheduled to begin in January 2014 and the second in April 2014.