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Coordinated Actos Bladder Cancer Lawsuits Move Forward in Federal Court

Actos pills

A recent status conference for coordinated Actos bladder cancer lawsuits in federal court indicates litigation continues to move forward. Attorneys involved in the Actos MDL were scheduled to meet with the judge overseeing the coordination on August 21, to provide updates about case statuses for the hundreds of lawsuits now pending against Actos manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Thousands of lawsuits pending

Judge Rebecca Doherty is currently overseeing more than 3,600 Actos lawsuits in multidistrict litigation in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. The MDL was established in December 2011 to prevent duplicate discovery and conflicting rulings from different courts in a growing number of lawsuits involving the diabetes drug Actos. The plaintiffs in these complaints allege they developed bladder cancer after using Actos, and that Takeda failed to provide proper warning about those risks to consumers and the medical community.

Prior to the latest status meeting, Judge Doherty sent out a proposed agenda that included updates on MDL developments, status of outstanding orders and motions and a status of both state and federal court filings. This status conference served as a follow-up to the previous conference in June, and will be followed by another meeting in September. Lawyers for both plaintiffs and defendants were expected to provide updates at the August conference.

Actos side effects

Actos was introduced by Takeda Pharmaceuticals as an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes. However, reports of serious side effects linked to Actos, including a heightened risk for bladder cancer, have concerned some patients and healthcare providers. In 2011, the FDA issued a safety communication warning consumers and the medical community that use of Actos for one year or longer could increase the user’s risk for a bladder cancer diagnosis.

Hundreds of injured Actos users have now taken their cases to court, alleging use of the drug led to their bladder cancer diagnoses. They further claim that Takeda failed to provide proper warning about the risks associated with their product, exposing thousands to potential cancer and other serious side effects. In addition to the federal cases coordinated into Louisiana court, others are pending in state and local courts across the country.

Early trials show conflicting results

Early trials, known as bellwether trials, have begun in the federal MDL. These cases are selected by representatives for both plaintiffs and defendants, in order to discover how juries might respond to evidence and testimony in the Actos cases still pending. Earlier this year, the first bellwether trial resulted in a $9 billion Actos verdict to the plaintiff. The majority of that award was punitive damages, designed to punish the defendant for failing to provide essential information about the link between Actos use and bladder cancer.

A second bellwether trial had been scheduled to begin in April 2014, but that date has been continued. Four trials have also taken place at the state level, but with conflicting results. More state trials are expected to commence before the end of the year. In the meantime, litigation proceedings continue for Actos bladder cancer lawsuits in federal court in Louisiana. In addition to early discovery and trial preparations currently underway, plaintiffs and defendants are meeting with a liaison in an effort to negotiate some type of settlement agreement.

  1. FDA, FDA Drug Safety Communication: Update to Ongoing Safety Review of Actos (pioglitazone) and Increased Risk of Bladder Cancer,

  2. U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana, Welcome to the Web Site for MDL No. 2299,

  3. Web MD, Diabetes Drug Actos again Linked to Bladder Cancer,

  4. U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana, Minute Entry: Agenda for August 21, 2014 Status Conference,