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Plaintiff Awarded $9 Billion in Actos Lawsuit

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Lafayette, LAEli Lilly & Co. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. have been ordered to pay a combined $9 billion to the plaintiff in an Actos lawsuit. The Actos bladder cancer lawsuit, which alleged plaintiff Terrence Allen developed bladder cancer after using the drug, alleged patients were not properly warned about the link between Actos and bladder cancer.

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.

In June 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning that use of Actos could be linked to the development of bladder cancer, especially in patients who use Actos for more than one year and those who were exposed to the highest cumulative dose. Use of Actos has been suspended in Germany and France, following studies suggesting an increased risk of bladder cancer in patients who use Actos.

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.

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READER COMMENTS

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I WOULD LIKE TO EXPLAIN MY SITUATION REGARDING TAKING ACTOS FOR 6 MONTHS. WHEN I WAS TAKEN OFF OF AVANDIA, THE DOCTOR, DR. GUMINA HAD PUT ME ON ACTOS.
I WAS FINE UNTIL ONE DAY I HAD TO SHOVEL SNOW AT MY HOME. I BASICALLY COULD NOT EVEN WALK 10 FT BEFORE GASPING FOR AIR. THE RESULT WAS WATER IN MY LUNGS WHICH CAUSED MY HEART TO WORK AT A RATE OF 19% BASED ON THE FINDING OF A CHECK OF MY HEART. I AT THAT POINT WAS TOLD BY DR. WATSON FROM JERSY SHORE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL IN NEPTUNE THAT SHE WAS SUPRISED THAT I WAS STILL ALIVE. I HAD TO HAVE A DIFIBULATER TO HAVE MY HEART RESTARTED IF IT FAILED. AGAIN THERE WAS NO PROBLEM PRIOR TO MY TAKING ACTOS. ALL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND IN HOSPITAL. NOW I CANNOT DO WHAT I USED TO DO AND HAD TO TAKE LESSER PAY FOR ANOTHER JOB DUE TO WHAT HAD HAPPENED. I HAD LOST MY HOME DUE TO THE PROBLEM. CAN YOU HELP ME.

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