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Takeda Fined by Trial Jury for Destruction of Actos Documents

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Martinsburg, WVOf the eight Actos bladder cancer lawsuits that have gone to trial, more than a few have alleged that documents related to the Type 2 diabetes drug had been destroyed by Actos manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Presiding judges in previous trials have criticized Takeda for doing so. Now, the jury in a recent Actos lawsuit has actually fined Takeda for its role in failing to preserve documents that would have proven beneficial to the case of the plaintiff.

Whether Takeda failed to preserve or willingly destroyed documents is still the subject of some debate. Previous testimony has heard that Takeda had directed all documentation related to Actos be preserved, and yet somehow it was not. The issue is relevant due to allegations that Takeda hid the potential for bladder cancer from consumers, prompting consumers to continue on with Actos when they might have switched to another medication, had they known of the potential for Actos bladder cancer.

The most recent Actos lawsuit to find in favor of the plaintiff is Myers v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc., Circuit Court of Berkeley County, West Virginia, No. 12-C-315 (Martinsburg). According to a report in Bloomberg News (11/17/14), the jury in the case deliberated for about three hours on November 17 before releasing its order to Takeda to pay $155,000 in fines for its destruction of documents important to the case of plaintiff Richard Myers, a 71-year-old retired bakery worker. The jury concluded that failure to preserve the documents stood in the way of Myers proving his Actos side effects case against Takeda. The jury awarded compensatory damages to Myers nonetheless.

Takeda was reported by Bloomberg to be considering an appeal of the finding.

It has been a stormy fall on the legal front for Takeda, with a federal judge upholding a punitive damage award in another case at the beginning of November and another Actos lawsuit that saw the plaintiff awarded $2 million. According to Bloomberg, there have been eight Actos bladder cancer lawsuits that have gone to trial, with the plaintiffs prevailing in five. There are thousands of additional cases pending - 4,500 cases in state court in Illinois and 3,500 Actos cases consolidated before US District Judge Rebecca Doherty in Lafayette, Louisiana (In Re Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation, 11-md-02299, US District Court, Western District of Louisiana).

There are other side effects associated with Actos besides bladder cancer: Actos heart failure is also an issue. However, a determination that cardiovascular risks associated with pioglitazone (Actos) were lower than that associated with GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia several years ago prompted doctors to switch their Type 2 diabetes patients from Avandia to Actos in droves, driving up sales of Actos. According to Bloomberg, sales of Actos mushroomed, peaking at $4.5 billion in 2011 and accounting for about 27 percent of Takeda’s revenue at the time.

Sales of Actos have fallen since allegations began appearing over Actos and bladder cancer, which failed to find traction when Actos sales were lower in the halcyon days of Avandia’s dominance of the market prior to the cardiovascular scare. With the rapid rise of Actos and increased use amongst the Type 2 diabetic community, reports of Actos bladder cancer began surfacing.

Plaintiffs in the typical Actos bladder cancer lawsuit assert that Takeda knew about the potential for Actos bladder cancer even before Actos was granted approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and first appeared on the market in 1999, but failed to adequately warn - or so it has been alleged.

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