According to a Reuters article, the multinational drug company Takeda Pharmaceutical has agreed to pay $2.4 billion to resolve the majority of its 8,000 Actos lawsuits. This represents a $200 million increase over the company’s initial settlement offer last month. Plaintiffs in Actos lawsuits allege that Takeda failed to warn doctors and patients that its Type II diabetes medication could increase the risk of bladder cancer.
Takeda’s Actos is just one of many diabetes drugs that have come under fire recently. AstraZeneca’s incretin mimetic Byetta and Merck’s Januvia have also been closely scrutinized. As early as 2008, the FDA began receiving reports of hemorrhagic and necrotizing pancreatitis developing in patients taking Byetta. In 2013 the FDA began conducting investigations into Byetta, Januvia, and other incretins for links to an increased risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
Since then, nearly 600 incretin mimetic lawsuits have been filed in the Southern District of California as part of a multidistrict litigation. These lawsuits include yet another diabetes medication—Novo Nordisk’s Victoza. Victoza has been linked in several studies to thyroid cancer and other severe side effects that plaintiffs allege were never made public by the drug’s manufacturer.
Despite agreeing to set funds aside for Actos lawsuits, Takeda still denies liability and says the bladder cancer claims are unfounded. However, previous court decisions have tended to go against Takeda.
In 2013, an Actos lawsuit brought to jury trial in Los Angeles alleged that Takeda, Asia’s biggest drug manufacturer, had been aware of its drug’s link to bladder cancer as early as 2004. However, the company did not notify U.S. regulators of this until seven years later, presumably to secure its $1.6 billion in annual sales.
Later, in 2014, a Louisiana judge ruled that Takeda destroyed evidence that would have aided Actos lawsuits in proving that the company hid information about the cancer risks of its diabetes drug. The Louisiana jury trial ended with a $9 billion verdict against Takeda and its American partner Eli Lilly & Co, which was later drastically reduced to $36.8 million.
Remember to consult with your health care provider before making any changes to your treatment plan. If you or someone close to you suffered from pancreatic, bladder, or thyroid cancer after taking a diabetes drug like Byetta, Januvia, Actos, or Victoza, contact Lopez McHugh’s team of pharmaceutical lawyers at once for a free legal consultation. We can help you explore your legal options and determine whether a product liability lawsuit is right for you.