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Takeda Faces Another Actos Cancer Lawsuit

A man has begun legal proceedings against Takeda after their diabetes drug Actos allegedly caused his bladder cancer. The lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, and is to be consolidated with related cases. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was prescribed Actos for type 2 diabetes and was later diagnosed with bladder cancer. He is seeking damages from Takeda and a number of their U.S. distributors.

Takeda and the other defendants allegedly concealed their knowledge of an ‘unreasonable risk’ of cancer for those taking the drug for more than a year. Bladder cancer was not listed as one of the possible Actos side effects.

The latest Actos cancer lawsuit is just one of more than 3,000 similar lawsuits currently pending against Takeda. The company is facing legal action across the country, with more than 1,200 lawsuits already consolidated in a Louisiana federal court. The first federal case is set to be heard early next year. Virtually all complainants allege that ingesting Actos for more than twelve months carries an increased risk of bladder cancer.

Initially developed as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, Actos was launched by Takeda in 1999. It went on to become one of the biggest selling diabetes drugs in the world. Actos has been a major driver of revenue for Takeda, pulling in $4.5 billion in 2011 alone, according to a Bloomberg report.

It works by increasing cells’ sensitivity to insulin and helping the body to regulate blood sugar levels. Actos has been the focus of thousands of lawsuits alleging the drug increases the risk of bladder cancer and heart attacks.

Major Study Supports Allegations

A comprehensive study conducted over 10 years seems to support the allegations about Actos. Canadian researchers looked at the medical records of more than 115,000 patients who took Actos between 1988 and 2009. The study found 88 additional cases of bladder cancer per 100,000 people involving patients who took Actos for at least two years.

The researchers concluded that, while diabetes patients who took Actos for less than a year are at no greater risk of cancer, there is a a 30% increased risk after twelve months. Patients who use Actos for more than two years have more than a 50% increased risk of being diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Actos cancer lawsuit alleged Takeda knew risks

Takeda lost patent protection for Actos in 2012, after it emerged that the Japanese company’s researchers misled regulators about the risks by ignoring or downplaying concerns about its potentially lethal side effects.

One recent Actos cancer lawsuit alleged that Takeda had established a link between Actos and bladder cancer as early as 2004, but they failed to inform regulators for another seven years. Internal emails were presented in court as evidence that company bosses were complicit in a failure to update the warning labels or Actos side effects list. Takeda continued to omit a bladder cancer warning, even after repeated demands from the FDA.

In that particular Actos cancer lawsuit, the $6.5 million jury verdict was eventually overturned after Takeda successfully convinced the jury that the plaintiff – an elderly, diabetic who used to smoke – was already in the high-risk category prior to taking Actos.