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In Spite of Defendant Misconduct, Takeda Wins Case

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Clark County, NVAttorneys representing Actos bladder cancer plaintiffs Berta Triana and Delores Cipriano would love to know the basis for a jury’s decision to find in favor of the defendant, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, in a recent Actos lawsuit.

This, in spite of attorneys representing the defendant sanctioned by presiding Judge Kerry Earley for misconduct.

This, in spite of an adverse instruction to the jury by Judge Earley prior to closing arguments that Takeda destroyed evidence that the jury could assume would have proven unfavorable to Takeda had the evidence been preserved as mandated by a legal hold.

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the Actos bladder cancer lawsuit commented at the conclusion of the tumultuous trial that in their view, the plaintiffs had a very strong case. However, in spite of sanctioned misconduct on the part of the defendant’s legal team (repeatedly attempting to broach subjects the presiding judge had ruled off-limits during pretrial orders) and in spite of the alleged spoilage of integral evidence, the jury found for Takeda after deliberating over two days.

The jury ruling was in stark contrast to an earlier win by plaintiffs in an Actos lawsuit alleging an association between Actos and bladder cancer. In that lawsuit, Terrence and Susan Allen were awarded $6 billion in punitive damages. That case was also conducted under a similar cloud of missing evidence.

Both lawsuits accused Takeda, the manufacturer of the type 2 diabetes drug, of hiding the association between Actos and bladder cancer from consumers and the medical community. Actos, known generically as pioglitazone, is beset with a collection of Actos side effects, as is the case with most medications and in particular those designed to treat and manage type 2 diabetes.

In particular, Actos benefitted from the misfortunes suffered by rival diabetes drug Avandia, which was saddled several years ago with accusations of increased cardiovascular risks. Takeda’s pioglitazone also carries a risk of Actos heart failure, but the risk is thought to be lower than that of GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia. Doctors switched their type 2 diabetes patients to Actos in droves in the midst of the initial Avandia scare. There was no mention of Actos and bladder cancer, or the risks thereof, at the time.

Plaintiffs Triana and Cipriano had brought separate lawsuits that were combined into one trial due to their similarity. Both plaintiffs, in their early 80s, claimed that their use of Takeda’s pioglitazone triggered Actos bladder cancer. They accused Takeda of failure to warn about the risks, allegations not unlike those made by plaintiffs in the Allen case.

However, this Actos bladder cancer lawsuit had a much different ending. Takeda has reportedly won five of six Actos trials thus far, and is appealing the Allen case. Legal eagles and pundits are watching to see if this trend continues, or if plaintiffs will start faring better in view of the claims, and in light of alleged misconduct on the part of Takeda with regard to failure to warn and the disappearance of evidence.

The cases are Cipriano v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc., Case No. A680922, and Triana v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc., Case No. A680556, in the Clark County Court in Nevada.

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