According to Expert in Philadelphia State Court Case, Actos Largest Bladder Cancer Risk for Plaintiff
Law 360 reports that setting aside a history of smoking and other risk factors, an expert witness told a jury in Philadelphia that the most significant contributing factor for the retired western Pennsylvania teacher, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2008, was his long-term Actos use. University of Colorado oncologist and bladder cancer specialist Shandra Wilson testified that plaintiff John Kristufek’s long-term use of Actos was the likely cause of his bladder cancer, despite his 25-year history of smoking (the risks of which were substantially reduced after he quit smoking in 1990). Wilson told the jurors, “To me it appears that the higher the dose, the more likely it is that Actos causes bladder cancer. I do believe it was a substantial factor.”
Takeda Pharmaceuticals is a Japanese-based company that makes the prescription drug pioglitazone under the trade name Actos®, which is a medication prescribed to control glucose (blood sugar) in adults with Type 2 diabetes. The FDA approved Actos® in 1999. The drug subsequently became the world’s best-selling diabetes treatment with Actos® sales peaking between March 2010 and March 2011 at $4.5 billion, or 27 percent of Takeda revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. Actos® has generated more than $16 billion in sales since its 1999 release, Bloomberg reports.
Prior to this Pennsylvania state court trial, there have been other trials in both state and federal court for lawsuits filed against the manufacturers of Actos®, including the following:
- In May 2013, a Plaintiff was awarded $6.5 million in damages ($5 million in compensatory damages and $1.5 million for loss of consortium) after a California state court jury found Actos® caused the Plaintiff’s bladder cancer. However, the judge later threw out the jury award based on an issue involving one of plaintiff’s expert witnesses.
- In September 2013, a Maryland state court jury awarded plaintiff $1.7 in damages. The judge subsequently overturned the verdict based on Maryland’s contributory negligence law. The court determined that the Plaintiff’s 30-year history as a smoker was a substantial factor in causing the Plaintiff’s bladder cancer.
- In December 2013, a Nevada federal court jury followed suit in handing down a verdict in favor of Takeda. The jury found that the Plaintiff’s smoking history contributed to Plaintiff’s bladder cancer and that her purchases of generics raised causation issues.
- On April 7, 2014, two plaintiffs were awarded $1.475 million in compensatory damages. The Louisiana jury sitting in the Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) also rendered a $9 billion verdict for punitive damages. The jury found that Takeda “failed to adequately warn” about the risks of Actos® and that the company “acted with wanton and reckless disregard” for the patients’ safety. However, the $9 billion verdict was later reduced by the court to $36.8 million.
- In May 2014, a Cook County, Illinois 12-member state court jury ruled in favor of Takeda on plaintiff’s failure to warn claim. The jury found that the Plaintiff’s smoking history contributed to Plaintiff’s bladder cancer and thus raised causation issues.
- In October 2014, a jury in Philadelphia state court found that the manufacturers of Actos failed to properly warn the plaintiff’s doctors about the increased risk of cancer associated with Actos and awarded more than $2 million in damages. The Pennsylvania state court case was Wisniewski v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc., Case No. 120702272, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.
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