Understanding the Actos Lawsuit and How to Find Help

Takeda, Japan’s largest pharmaceutical firm, is the manufacturer of Actos, a glucose controlling aid for Type 2 diabetics. Since 2011 both Takeda and its US marketing firm, Eli Lilly, have been named as defendants in thousands of American lawsuits claiming medical links with serious health risks for patients using Actos.

The majority of the lawsuits have cited bladder cancer as a life-threatening side effect from the use of Actos. Other cited complications include the development of cognitive heart problems, eye area edema that can result in blindness, bone fractures, and damage to the liver and kidneys.

History of Actos in the USA

Actos, a prescription drug approved by the FDA in 1999, is a medication for Type 2 diabetics. As one form of the TZD (thiazolidinedione) class of drugs, Actos helps diabetics regulate and control normal blood sugar levels. Watson Pharmaceuticals was granted a license by the FDA to sell the generic version of Actos, labeled as Pioglitazone. Both Actos and Pioglitazone prescriptions carry boxed warning labels advising patients of the potential risks associated with the medications.

In 2011, after reviewing a 10-year study of Actos usage, the FDA warned the medical community that usage of the drug for more than 12 months “may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer.” The alleged Actos associated health complications are also a concern in other countries around the world. As a result of the FDA warning and a French study finding bladder cancer a risk for Actos users, both France and Germany have banned the sale of this drug.

Since 2011, more than 3,000 lawsuits have been filed claiming a link between bladder cancer and the extended use of Actos. The major portion of the claims has been classified as an MDL (multidistrict litigation) and the cases are currently being heard in a federal court in the Western District of Louisiana. The first Federal MDL case ended on April 7, 2014 with a court order for punitive damage payments totaling $9 Billion; $6 Billion to be paid by Takeda and $3 Billion to be paid by Eli Lilly.

On April 8, Takeda Senior VP and general counsel, Kenneth D. Greisman, stated that his firm disagrees with the verdict and will challenge the outcome. Pharmacies, physicians, lawyers and primarily diabetics who have used Actos are closely watching this bellwether federal case for an indication of where manufacturers’ responsibility ends and where the doctor-patient responsibility begins.

Prior to the current federal lawsuit, there were two other Actos cases tried at the state level where the juries found in favor of the plaintiffs. The first case was an April 2013 Los Angeles County California Superior Court verdict awarding $6.5 Million to the plaintiff. That case was set aside by the judge and Takeda was given a non-suit determination. The plaintiff’s lawyers are appealing the judge’s decision. The second case was a September 2013 Baltimore City Maryland Circuit Court verdict awarding $1.76 Million to the plaintiff. This case was overturned when the court found, in accordance with Maryland law, contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff.

The initial number of lawsuits in 2011 was a few hundred; a fraction of the number that exists today. The volume of lawsuits continues to increase as both current and former Actos users become aware of the potential health dangers linked to the drug and the suspicion that their medical conditions have been compromised by the drug. If you feel you may be affected by Actos, you should reach out to a litigation attorney for further review.