The case in Los Angeles Superior Court (Cooper v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc., CGC-12-518535), which began two months ago, is one of 3,000 lawsuits pending nationwide. The jury awarded Cooper $5 million in compensatory damages and another $1.5 million to his wife. The lawsuit alleged that Takeda Pharmaceutics failed to provide an adequate warning that its diabetes drug Actos could cause bladder cancer.
In 2011, health regulators from France and Germany had the drug removed from the market after an analysis of a company-sponsored study of Actos showed that some Actos users faced an increased risk of developing bladder cancer or heart problems. Andre, age 41, is one of many Actos users who wonder why the FDA didn’t remove the drug from the US market.
“I have asked my primary doctor and my cardiologist how I developed these heart problems and no one can give me an answer,” says Andre. “They tell me that it could be a virus, or genetic. I was put on Actos twice to lower my blood sugar: the first time was in 2001 and I took it for a year, and in 2011, I took it again for six months. I saw my cardiologist last week, and if things don’t change, I might need to have a heart transplant.”
Andre discovered the link between Actos and heart failure about six months ago - needless to say he can’t understand why his doctor prescribed the drug a second time. “I haven’t worked since last December because of my congestive heart failure and I am currently waiting for social security benefits,” says Andre. “In 2006, I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, which literally means heart muscle disease, and in 2011, I had a cardiac defibrillator implanted. I’ve been searching for answers but I am just given drugs or devices so I’ll stick around for a few more years. I’m definitely not getting cured or getting any better.”
READ MORE ACTOS SIDE EFFECTS LEGAL NEWS
In May 2012, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a study showing that patients who took Actos for two years were twice as likely to develop bladder cancer. Two months later, a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that Actos users were 22 percent more likely to develop bladder cancer.
To date, 200 Actos lawsuits are consolidated in California state court; another 1,500 are in Illinois state court in Cook County; and about 1,200 are in multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.