On Friday (3/16/12), the Court appointed a Special Master, Deputy Special Master and Deputy Special Master-Plaintiff side, according to a note posted on the Court website.
March 22 and 23 will represent the first beginnings of a process that will ultimately prove or disprove co-defendant Takeda Pharmaceutical's guilt or innocence in a court of law. The Actos bladder cancer lawsuits were consolidated last year in Lafayette.
Takeda is the largest manufacturer of pharmaceuticals in Asia. The maker of Actos enjoyed a windfall with its Type 2 Diabetes drug after Avandia, a competing drug manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and at the time a market leader in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, was bedeviled with a litany of adverse reactions, including risk of heart attack.
Doctors switched their diabetes patients over to Actos in droves believing Actos to be the safer alternative. While Takeda never maintained that Actos was completely free of risk, researchers agreed with Takeda that Actos carried less risk for Actos heart failure than Avandia—a claim disputed by GlaxoSmithKline.
Now, it seems, that initial wave of success for Takeda has come home to roost with the link to Actos bladder cancer, among other Actos side effects.
With less than a week to go before the start of proceedings in Lafayette, Judge Doherty noted in a web posting March 12 (also carried in a Bloomberg report 3/13/12, "The court has determined to effect the selection of lead counsel, liaison counsel and plaintiffs' executive and steering committees before the March 22nd–23rd status conference." The statement was posted on the Court's website last week.
READ MORE ACTOS SIDE EFFECTS LEGAL NEWS
Despite the risk of Actos bladder cancer and other Actos side effects including Actos macular edema, Actos remains the top-selling drug for Takeda. "Given that litigation is pending, we can't comment," said Jocelyn Gerst, a US-based spokeswoman for Takeda. Gerst was responding to the selection of plaintiff attorneys in a telephone interview with Bloomberg News.