Another Multimillion Dollar Actos Diabetes Drug Jury Award

After another multimillion dollar jury award last week against the manufacturer of the diabetes drug, Actos, if you are an Oklahoma resident who has taken the drug and contracted bladder cancer, you may not have much more time to file a lawsuit.

A Philadelphia jury awarded more than $3.6 million last week to a former high school teacher who took Actos for three years, developed bladder cancer and had to have his bladder removed.

A jury in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas ordered Actos manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceutical to pay John Kristufek $318,000 for medical expenses, $2 million for pain and suffering and $1.3 million in punitive damages.

Kristufek was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. That same year, Takeda listed cancer on its labeling for the first time as a risk associated with Actos, only after the FDA ordered it to do so.

The Philadelphia jury found that Takeda not only failed to warn doctors about the cancer risk, but showed “reckless indifference” by concealing the risk. The plaintiff argued that Takeda executives knew about Actos’s link to bladder cancer in 2004, four years before Kristufek began taking the drug.

A former Takeda safety consultant filed a “whistleblower lawsuit” against Takeda in 2010, claiming that Takeda knew about the connection between Actos and bladder cancer for years before it became public knowledge.

Actos is the brand name for pioglitazone, which is used to treat Type 2 diabetes. Takeda Pharmaceutical, based in Japan, is Asia’s largest pharmaceutical company.

Previous Actos awards

The Kristufek jury award is the fifth against Takeda on behalf of an Actos patient.

  • In Philadelphia last October: A jury awarded $2.05 million in damages to Frances Wisniewski, a woman with bladder cancer. Earlier this month a judge denied Takeda’s motion to overturn that award. The judge also added $100,000 in delay damages. Takeda said it will appeal the award.
  • In Louisiana last April: A federal jury ordered Takeda to pay a whopping $9 billion award to a man with bladder cancer. A judge reduced that award to $36.8 million. Takeda has appealed.
  • In Maryland in September 2013: A state jury ordered a $1.8 million award to the family of a man who died of bladder cancer. Takeda has appealed the award.
  • In California in April 2013, a jury awarded $6.5 million in damages to a man who has bladder cancer that has spread throughout his body. It was the first Actos award against Takeda. A judge has thrown out the award, and the plaintiff has appealed.

The five awards add up to about $50 million, which is less than one-third of one percent of the $16 billion in sales revenue Actos has generated since it hit the U.S. market in 1999. In 2011 alone, Takeda saw $4.5 billion in Actos sales.

Thousands more trials on the dockets

The next Actos trial is set for Wisconsin next month.

There are 4,003 pending federal Actos lawsuits, according to a list updated on Tuesday by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. That total includes more than 300 additional federal cases included in the MDL in the last six months. Those federal cases have been consolidated in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Louisiana.

There are also about 4,500 Actos lawsuits under way at the state court level in Illinois, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Is it too late to file an Actos lawsuit?

It is not too late for Oklahoma Actos patients to file a complaint against Takeda. However, there are several important time considerations for prospective Actos plaintiffs to keep in mind.

Although Takeda continues to fight for every inch of ground in the state and federal courts, some observers predict that last week’s award will tip the scales, prompting Takeda to seek a global settlement. Such a settlement would not necessarily include cases that have not yet been filed.

Other factors that affect the timing of a lawsuit are when you took Actos (before or after Takeda changed its warning label in 2011) and the statute of limitations (how long have you known that you have cancer that may have resulted from Actos use?)

For more information about Actos and Actos litigation, see our webpage: “Actos: Thousands of Lawsuits Pending.”

For a free consultation about your experience with Actos, contact Hasbrook & Hasbrook by telephone (866-416-4737), email (cth@hasbrooklaw.com) or use our website contact form: Contact Us. We are happy to visit with you and help you understand your legal rights and options.