In the first of more than 3,000 Actos bladder cancer lawsuits to go trial, a jury returned a $6.5 million verdict last month against Takeda Pharmaceuticals American Inc. in favor of Jack Cooper who developed bladder cancer after being prescribed Actos for his diabetes. The jury found that Takeda failed to adequately warn patients and doctors of the risks of Actos and that Actos was the cause of Mr. Cooper’s bladder cancer. The jury awarded $5 million to Mr. Cooper and $1.5 million to his wife for loss of consortium.
Mr. Cooper was prescribed Actos for his diabetes by his family physician and took it for over four years before developing bladder cancer in 2011. The judge ordered that the Cooper case be the first to go to trial after Mr. Cooper’s doctors indicated that he is gravely ill and not likely to survive another year. The trial, which started on February 19th, lasted nearly two months.
During the trial, the jury heard evidence that Takeda knew of links between Actos and bladder cancer as early as 2004, but failed to disclose that risk to the FDA for seven years. The jury also saw internal emails from Takeda executives which showed that they were aware that Actos caused an increased risk of bladder cancer and yet chose to downplay those dangers to avoid hurting sales of Actos, which was Takeda’s most profitable product. One executive wrote:
Actos is the most important product for Takeda and therefore we need to manage this issue very carefully and successfully not to cause any damage for this product globally.
Takeda says that an appeal is likely if its post-verdict motions are denied. More than 3,000 lawsuits have been filed against Takeda by people who developed bladder cancer after taking Actos. The lawsuits are pending in California, Illinois and in federal court in Louisiana, where more than 1,200 lawsuits have been consolidated into federal multidistrict litigation. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles, California Superior Court. Mike Miller and Nancy Miller from Orange, Virginia, represented the plaintiffs in the case and they did a very good job.
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