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Judge Throws Out $1.7 Million Actos Trial Verdict

A Maryland jury ruled that Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is liable for the death of an ex.-U.S. Army translator, but a judge promptly threw the verdict out. The family of Diep An filed the Actos bladder cancer lawsuit following his death from the disease in 2012. The plaintiffs claim that Takeda, the largest pharmaceutical company in Asia, failed to adequately warn the deceased and his physician of the risk of bladder cancer associated with Actos, which the company was allegedly aware of. However, the jurors also found that An contributed to his death by smoking for 30 years, causing Judge Brooke Murdock to throw the verdict out, based on Maryland law.

The Actos trial verdict reached by the jury awarded $330,000 in noneconomic damages to An’s estate and $295,000 for past medical expenses. An’s widow was awarded $540,000 for loss of consortium and his three children were awarded $200,000 each.

Actos bladder cancer lawsuit details

Along with proper diet and exercise, Actos is used to improve blood sugar control in adults with type II diabetes. It is a diabetes medicine called pioglitazone hydrochloride that may be taken alone or with other diabetes medications.

An began taking Actos in 2007 and was diagnosed with “high-grade bladder cancer” in September 2011, according to court filings.

Takeda argued that An’s bladder cancer was not caused by Actos. The company claims it did provide adequate warnings about the risk of the disease and noted that the FDA approved the drug and never demanded that Takeda take it off the market.  Lawyers for Takeda presented evidence that An smoked half a pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years, before stopping in 1996. Smoking has been proven to increase the risk of bladder cancer, argued the defense attorneys.

FDA warns of Actos bladder cancer risk

Actos received FDA approval in 1999 for the treatment of Type II diabetes mellitus. In June 2011, the FDA issued a warning that using the drug for longer than one year could cause an increased risk of bladder cancer. As a result, this risk was added to the warnings and precautions portion of the Actos prescription label and the patient medication guide. On the same day, the FDA also recommended that healthcare physicians discontinue pioglitazone use in patients with active bladder cancer.

More lawsuits filed against Takeda

This is the second Actos bladder cancer lawsuit to go to court. The first trial was held in California, in April where the jury awarded the plaintiff, a diabetic man, $6.5 million in damages. However, the judge ultimately threw the verdict out after finding the testimony of the plaintiff’s specific causation expert was unreliable. The family of the plaintiff has appealed the verdict.

More than 1,200 Actos bladder cancer lawsuits have been consolidated before a federal judge in Louisiana. The first case is schedule for trial in January.

In total, more than 3,000 patients have filed an Actos lawsuit against the company. Takeda is also preparing for upcoming trials in Las Vegas and Chicago state courts.