Asia’s biggest drugmarker, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., is facing its first trial of lawsuits involving Actos. Alleged to have caused cancer in some patients, Actos was once the world’s biggest-selling diabetes drug. Like many diabetes drugs that were pushed on the market as the drug companies chased a gold rush of profits, lawsuits ensued. Now Takeda faces more than 3,000 lawsuits alleging Actos caused bladder cancer or other ailments among patients.
More than 1,200 suits have been consolidated before a federal judge in Louisiana for pretrial information exchanges. The first federal case is set for trial in November 2014. In the meantime, Takeda faces its first case today in state court in Los Angeles. Plaintiff is a 69 year old man who took Actos for more than two years. Diagnosed with bladder cancer in November 2011, he is “gravely ill” according to the Judge that granted an expedited trial of his claim.
This trial comes one month after Japanese-based Takeda won U.S. regulatory approval for Nesina, a new diabetes drug to replace Actos.
Actos Settlements on the Horizon?
What issues Nesina may bring remains to be seen. The newer diabetes drugs have just not been better. But, if you think this is a harbinger of Actos settlements, I’m inclined to agree. Before they settle cases in massive numbers, they need to first get their next drug ready to go so they can keep the profits rolling. It is a sad commentary but it happens all of the time.