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Starting the New Year with Actos Bladder Cancer Lawsuit

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Edwardsville, ILA recent Actos bladder cancer case in Edwardsville highlights the risks associated with the popular treatment for Type 2 diabetes. In an ironic twist of fate, a medication that was able to capitalize on the sinking fortunes of Avandia has itself become entangled with its own set of potential dangers.

In a recent Actos lawsuit, William R. Greenlee and his spouse started the New Year with the filing of an Actos bladder cancer lawsuit on January 4. The action, filed in Madison County Circuit Court, names Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc., Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc., Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, and Eli Lilly and Company as defendants.

In comments recently published in the Madison County Record (1/19/12), the plaintiff notes that he was prescribed Actos for the maintenance of his blood sugar in May of 2007. Greenlee describes that he dutifully took his Actos daily until September 2011, when he learned about the link between Actos and bladder cancer, and was in a position to switch to an alternate treatment option.

As it happened, Greenlee was diagnosed with bladder cancer in June 2010, three years and one month after starting on his daily regimen of Actos. His lawsuit references numerous studies that speak to the increased risk of bladder cancer in Actos patients taking the Type 2 diabetes medication for longer than 12 months. Yet, according to the plaintiff's Actos lawsuit, it is alleged that none of these studies have been duly released or published by the defendants.

In another ironic twist of fate, just a few months following Greenlee's diagnosis of bladder cancer, a study conducted under the auspices of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found a link between Actos and bladder cancer—and a year after Greenlee's Actos bladder cancer diagnosis, the FDA issued a safety warning in June 2011 with a focus on Actos and its potential to foster cancer of the bladder.

"Use of the diabetes medication Actos (pioglitazone) for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer," stated the FDA release.

Although the caution was added to the prescribing information for Actos, the plaintiff notes that Actos was never recalled in the US as it was in France just one month following the FDA warning.

There are other Actos side effects beyond bladder cancer, not the least of which is the potential for Actos heart failure. The latter accounted for heated debate in the medical community over which Type 2 diabetes drug was a better bet where safety was concerned—Actos or Avandia. A study released several years ago damned Avandia for posing a risk for heart attack and other cardiac events, whereas Actos did not pose as high a risk.

While there was never any suggestion that Actos was free of risk, doctors switched their Type 2 diabetes patients over to Actos from Avandia in droves. GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Avandia, stuck by its claim that Avandia posed no greater risk than other Type 2 diabetes medications, including Actos.

Now, Greenlee is blaming his Actos bladder cancer not only on his use of Actos, but also on the defendant's alleged failure to disclose information which—had the information been available—might have prompted Greenlee to cease the use of Actos and pursue some other treatment options far sooner.

His Actos lawsuit accuses the defendants of having a direct responsibility in the emergence of his Actos bladder cancer. He accuses the defendants of negligence, strict liability and negligent failure to warn.

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