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Louisiana MDL Gains New Actos Bladder Cancer Lawsuit

According to documents submitted in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana, a new Actos bladder cancer lawsuit was added to the docket on June 12, 2013.  Actos side effects litigation against Takeda Pharmaceuticals, makers of the controversial type 2 diabetes medication (pioglitazone), has been mounting steadily as more plaintiffs are filing claims alleging they developed bladder cancer or experienced heart failure after ingesting the insulin-sensitizing drug.

The plaintiffs, Joseph and Janet DesGranges, who hail from Arkansas, are suing Takeda on charges that the company designed and produced a defective drug. 

Joseph DesGranges argues that had Takeda provided adequate warnings as to the risks and side effects of Actos, he would have chosen an alternative, safer medicine to help manage his blood sugar levels. The Arkansas man was diagnosed with bladder cancer in December 2011, after taking the drug for ten years.

FDA warns about Actos and bladder cancer risks

It wasn’t until June 15, 2011, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety announcement cautioning American consumers of bladder cancer risks associated with prolonged exposure to Actos. The agency stated that “use of the diabetes medication Actos (Pioglitazone) for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer.”

Takeda was ordered to update the Warnings and Precautions section of Actos labeling, as were other manufacturers that produced pioglitazone-containing medicines. The FDA further suggested that health care providers discontinue use of Actos among patients with active bladder cancer.

However, more than five years before the FDA Actos warning, the complaint states that Takeda was well aware of dangerous Actos side effects based on the findings of the PROactive (PROspective PioglitAzone Clinical Trial In MacroVascular Events) study, which lasted three years and revealed a “statistically significant” higher percentage of bladder cancer rates among test subjects who were exposed to Actos versus competing medications.

The Actos bladder cancer lawsuit alleges that the defendants and researchers intentionally skewed the study results, thus concealing vital information from the public and medical community. Several subsequent studies and trials made further connections between Actos and bladder cancer, but Takeda continued to promote their blockbuster diabetes drug as safe and effective.

Federal Actos side effects litigation coordinated as MDL No. 2299

The Arkansas couple is seeking compensation for the injuries Joseph DesGranges has sustained, including damages for past and future medical care and treatment. The plaintiffs say they have suffered and will continue to suffer emotional distress associated with the diagnosis of bladder cancer and fear possible malignancies, which may indicate removal of the urinary bladder.

 Nine causes of action are leveled against Takeda, including:

  • Manufacturing defect
  • Failure to warn
  • Breach of express warranty
  • Breach of implied warranty of merchantability and fitness
  • Negligence
  • Loss of spousal consortium
  • Common law fraud
  • Negligent misrepresentation
  • Constructive fraud

In addition, the Actos bladder cancer lawsuit plaintiffs are demanding punitive damages against Takeda in order to punish the company for its purported wrongful conduct and deter future similar actions.

Claims involving similar allegations of Actos injuries have been coordinated as multidistrict litigation in Louisiana federal court (Pioglitazone Products Liability Litigation), under the Honorable Judge Doherty. Bellwether trials in the federal Actos lawsuit MDL are slated to begin in January 2014. All eyes will be on these first cases, which often predict whether a defendant will initiate settlement discussions if jurors rule in favor of the plaintiffs.