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Actos Attorneys Face Sanctions for Misconduct

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Las Vegas, NVIn the ongoing Actos side effects litigation, Takeda Pharmaceuticals has faced some harsh words concerning its handling - or mishandling - of documents that could have been vital to plaintiffs in Actos lawsuits. Now, a judge in Las Vegas is reportedly considering sanctions against the drug company’s lawyers who are representing Takeda in defending Actos bladder cancer lawsuits.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (4/27/14), District Judge Kerry Earley heard arguments from the plaintiffs that Takeda’s lawyers have violated court orders and been disrespectful to the judge. The judge herself reportedly also called Takeda’s attorneys’ actions “very egregious” and “disrespectful.” Furthermore, according to the same report, although the jury did not see all of the contested actions, at one point the judge did have to instruct the jury to disregard one attorney’s comments and gestures.

The plaintiffs allege that Takeda’s lawyers are purposely attempting to cause a mistrial in the litigation.

The plaintiffs in the litigation are 81-year-old Delores Cipriano and 80-year-old Bertha Triana, who have both filed lawsuits alleging their use of Actos resulted in their suffering bladder cancer. Both plaintiffs reportedly underwent multiple surgeries to treat their bladder cancer.

The trial began on March 9. According to the Legal Examiner (5/2/14), the court will tell the jury that it is not to consider the actions of the plaintiffs’ counsel in repeatedly objecting to the defense counsels’ actions when it considers the outcome of the case. The court will instruct the jury that the plaintiffs’ counsel made necessary objections to defense counsel’s “repeated violations” of the court’s orders.

According to a different article by the Las Vegas Review-Journal (4/15/14), Cipriano has testified in the lawsuit and said she was never warned about the risk of bladder cancer and would not have taken the drug had she known about that risk. She was reportedly sent for testing after finding blood in her urine, which was when the bladder cancer diagnosis was made.

Takeda was already sanctioned in a different lawsuit for allegedly destroying or failing to maintain important documents linked to Actos litigation. In that case, the plaintiff was later awarded $9 billion.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings that use of Actos for the longest time or at the highest cumulative doses has been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer. When the FDA made its announcement on September 17, 2010, it noted that this was a “potential safety risk that needs further study.” The agency also noted that the risk of bladder cancer is believed to be higher in people with diabetes, which is the same population Actos is prescribed to.

Actos was approved in 1999 to be used along with diet and exercise to treat adults with type 2 diabetes. Concerns about a risk of bladder cancer, however, have resulted in lawsuits being filed against Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Those lawsuits allege patients were not adequately warned about the risks associated with use of Actos.

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