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Judge Sets First Hearing for Actos Diabetes Lawsuits

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New Orleans, LAA federal judge in Louisiana has scheduled an initial court hearing for a group of lawsuits that claim that the Actos diabetes drug carries an increased risk of bladder cancer, The Associated Press reported.

According to the news outlet, US District Judge Rebecca Doherty said she plans to appoint lead attorneys for the cases, which have been consolidated, after the March 22 status conference in her Lafayette courtroom.

The AP reported that in December, the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation assigned Doherty to preside over dozens of lawsuits against the maker of Actos, Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc., which is based in Deerfield, Illinois. Attorneys for the plaintiffs are expected to file several thousand claims against the drugmaker and its related companies on behalf of people who have used the medication.

Takeda's Japanese parent company halted sales of Actos in both Germany and France last year, and the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about the possible cancer risks that are associated with the drug but allowed sales to continue.

According to the news outlet, Takeda released a statement that said it works hard to evaluate any potential risks associated with its products.

"Takeda is confident in the therapeutic benefits of Actos and its importance as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. As a science and evidence-based company, Takeda firmly stands behind the substantial data available confirming the positive risk/benefit profile of Actos, which includes twelve years of clinical and patient experience with the product," the company said in the statement.

The first lawsuit against the company that linked Actos to bladder cancer was filed in July 2011, as the firm that represented the people with claims related to the medication noted these individuals should not be placed in such a risky situation.

"People should not run the risk of getting bladder cancer from treating their diabetes given the many other excellent therapies available," a spokesman for the firm said in a statement.

The National Library of Medicine reported that the medication may also cause or worsen congestive heart failure, and people who want to take the drug should tell their doctor of any previous heart condition.

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