Allen, who alleged his development of bladder cancer was caused by the use of Actos, was awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $9 billion in punitive damages. It is expected Takeda and Eli Lilly will appeal the ruling because punitive damages - awarded to punish companies for and discourage them from acting with bad conduct - should be relative to the compensatory damages awarded.
During the lawsuit, allegations were raised that Takeda officials purposely destroyed documents related to Actos. As a result, the judge told jurors they could take that to mean the destroyed documents would have supported the plaintiff’s allegations that Takeda knowingly hid the risks associated with the use of Actos.
The jury agreed with Allen that Takeda and Eli Lilly did not properly warn about the risks associated with the use of Actos and acted with disregard for their patients’ well-being.
Allen’s lawsuit was the first federal lawsuit to go to court. Previous trials in state court resulted in rulings for Takeda, including one lawsuit in which a judge reversed a jury verdict, finding that the plaintiffs did not prove Actos causes cancer.
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Actos is in a class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones, used to treat type II diabetes. It has been linked to an increased risk of liver problems and bladder cancer. Thousands more lawsuits have been filed against Takeda and Eli Lilly, alleging the companies hid the risks associated with the use of Actos.
A spokesperson for Eli Lilly told Bloomberg (4/7/14) that it intends to appeal the decision. The lawsuit is In Re: Actos Products Liability Litigation Case US District Court, Western District Louisiana, No. 6:11-md-2299.