Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies sometimes put profits ahead of all else. While it seems that patient safety should be at the forefront of a company’s efforts in drug development, some actions can raise questions as to a company’s true priorities. A recent Bloomberg article details the Philadelphia trial of a woman who claims the company marketed its diabetes drug Actos with little regard to patient safety. The plaintiff, who has developed cancer, claimed that the company failed to sufficiently communicate the risks of Actos because it was afraid that this would harm sales. This is the seventh Actos lawsuit to go to trial.
Studies were conducted in 2004 that linked Takeda’s Actos to a possible cancer risk. Testimony in front the Philadelphia jury hearing the most recent case pointed to the company protecting profits over patients. The Plaintiff made claims that in order to protect drug revenue, the Japan-based company did not provide an official warning until seven years after the link was first documented. At trial there were also allegations that the manufacturer destroyed documents regarding Actos development, including the files of 46 former and current employees. Some of the employees included executives both in the United States and Japan.
After deliberations, a Philadelphia jury awarded the Plaintiff more than $2 million. This case follows a Louisiana case of similar nature that resulted in a $9 billion verdict earlier this year. Takeda issued a statement that the company will “challenge this outcome.”
Over 3,500 cases regarding Actos have been consolidated in federal court in Lafayette, Louisiana. Another 4,500 cases have been filed in various other states, including both Pennsylvania and California.
In 2011, sales were at an all-time high for Actos. It comprised 27% of Takeda’s total revenue and generated $4.5 billion in sales. Since its introduction into the market in 1999, Actos has accumulated $16 billion in total sales.
While consumers often depend on pharmaceutical companies to have their best interests at heart, there are times when profit-seeking and marketing initiatives do not serve consumer safety. If you or a loved one suffered an injury as a result of pharmaceutical negligence, contact one Lopez McHugh’s pharmaceutical injury attorneys at (877) 737-8525 or fill out a contact form on our website for a free initial consultation.