Actos Maker Settles Cancer Claims for $2.4B

     NEW ORLEANS (CN) – Takeda Pharmaceutical will pay $2.4 billion to settle about 9,000 pending claims its diabetes drug Actos caused bladder cancer, the company announced this week.
     Plaintiffs in the thousands of pending lawsuits said Takeda, a company out of Osaka Japan, concealed the bladder cancer risk of the popular medication.
     Last year plaintiffs in a Louisiana case who said Takeda and Eli Lily hid the risks of cancer were awarded $9 billion in damages by a jury following a trial in the Baton Rouge Federal Court. The judge subsequently reduced the award to $36.8 million. Eli Lily co-marketed Actos from 1999 to 2006.
     Trial evidence in that case showed that experts had warned of Actos’ link to bladder cancer as many as seven years before Takeda issued warnings of the risk to patients.
     “We are pleased that Takeda has agreed to provide $2.4 billion to compensate thousands of deserving bladder cancer victims,” Richard J. Arsenault, a lawyer for plaintiffs, said in a statement this week. “After years of hard-fought and contentious litigation, the defendants have finally stepped up to the plate, and we applaud that effort.”
     Actos has not admitted liability and has continued to sell Actos in the U.S., Japan and many other countries. The pharmaceutical company said in a news release that it had “settled to reduce the uncertainties of complex litigation” and underscored that the benefits of Actos exceed any risk.
     “Takeda’s decision to settle does not change the company’s continued commitment to Actos,” the company statement said.
     Court records say the settlement involves claims of bladder cancer related to the use of Actos prior to 2001.
     In 2011 the FDA issued a warning on Actos’ labels that use of the drug presented a 40 percent increase in cancer risk.
     Terms of the settlement are available at www.actosofficialsettlement.com.
     Special Master Gary J. Russo has been appointed by U.S. Judge Rebecca H. Doherty of the Middle District of Louisiana to hear and decide on Actos claims.
     The settlement is among the largest product liability settlements over pharmaceuticals.

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