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Multi-Billion Dollar Punitive Damages Sought from Takeda in Actos Trial

Actos Bladder Cancer Trial in Las Vegas Heads to Jury VerdictThe outcome of the latest Actos bladder cancer trial is drawing the attention of attorneys and advocates from both sides for two main reasons. The plaintiffs’ attorney is asking for a multi-billion dollar punitive damages verdict, which would be the largest jury award in Nevada history, and how the jury responds to allegations that Takeda – the manufacturers of Actos – knew the drug increased the risk of bladder cancer in some patients. Both plaintiffs in the Las Vegas trial were diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking Actos.

The trial finally began after more than three weeks in the jury selection process. Jurors were chosen from a pool of 400 County residents.

Actos lawyers seek punitive damages

The Actos injury lawyer for the plaintiffs instructed jurors in regard to the type 2 diabetes drug allegedly causing bladder cancer in patients:

“The link to bladder cancer from Actos was well documented time and time again and yet medical professionals and consumers were never advised of these risks. These pharmaceutical companies have a responsibility to fully disclose to the consumer all of the facts so that they can make an informed decision weighing not only the benefits but the risks of the drugs. And unfortunately, due to Takeda Pharmaceutical’s conscious decision to keep this information from consumers and their doctors, we now have patients who are left to bear the permanent injury caused by Actos. That’s why we will be asking for a multi-billion dollar punitive damage verdict.”

In 2011, FDA officials required a warning label change after they found that Takeda sponsored a study that indicated some patients using Actos were exposed to an increased risk of bladder cancer and/or heart problems. Following the FDA label change, Germany and France requested Takeda take Actos off the market, which it did.

Last Las Vegas jury verdict bolsters Takeda’s claim that Actos is safe

The last jury verdict, in Las Vegas, was found in favor of Takeda. However, the reason for the jury decision in that particular case may have nothing to do with whether or not the jurors believed Actos was safe or Takeda was transparent about the potential risks of taking the drug. It seems the defense attorneys were successful in derailing the plaintiff’s case by focusing on the patient’s previous health records, and how he obtained the drug.

In the defense attorney’s closing argument, she turned the jurors attention to gaps in the claimant’s history and how/where he obtained Actos saying, “how important is it to you, before you can make a decision that Actos caused bladder cancer, how important would it be for you to have medical records from before Mr. Alsabagh actually took Actos. Is that something critical to know?”

She added further, “The question on this issue is not whether you think it’s okay or not okay to order drugs from Canada. The question is did Mr. Miller [plaintiff’s attorney] meet his burden to prove to you that Takeda manufactured the drugs that Mr. Alsabagh got.”

Actos verdicts favor plaintiffs

However, in two other cases where the defense faced the allegations head-on –” did Takeda knowingly put a drug on the market that increased patient’s risk of contracting bladder cancer without warning consumers and doctors of known risks?” – jurors found in favor of the plaintiffs. A Los Angeles jury awarded the plaintiff $6.5 million. A Maryland jury awarded the plaintiff $1.7 million.

Reportedly, Takeda profited over $40 billion from Actos. The plaintiffs’ attorney is asking for a portion of those profits to punish Takeda for allegedly keeping information from doctors and patients regarding the dangers of taking the drug.

With over 1,000 Actos lawsuits pending against Takeda, the outcome of the current trial is sure to be of high interest to all parties involved.

  1. Las Vegas Journal-Review - Las Vegas trial starts Monday in multibillion-dollar liability case against diabetes drug maker,

  2. Las Vegas Channel 8 News - Two Las Vegas Women Suing Big Pharmacy Company,

  3. Courtroom View Network - Las Vegas Jury Says Popular Diabetes Drug Not Defective,

  4. The Washington Post - Takeda Properly Warned About Actos’s Cancer Risks, Jury Says,