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Actos Bladder Cancer Litigation Update: First Bellwether Trial Begins, Jury Selected

Jan 29, 2014

The first Actos bellwether trial is moving forward and jury selection has taken place. Thousands of patients in the ongoing Actos litigation allege that they developed bladder cancer as a result of taking Actos (pioglitazone).

Specifically, the couple who brought the case in the first bellwether allege that the husband, Terrance Allen, took Actos to treat his Type 2 diabetes from 2004 to 2011; he developed bladder cancer in 2011. Mr. Allen alleges that Actos caused his bladder cancer and that the maker of Actos, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., hid these risks from the public.

These claims are similar to the 2,700 additional lawsuits pending in the Actos multidistrict litigation (MDL). The bellwether is expected to last six weeks and may help determine how the remaining cases will proceed. Generally, plaintiffs in the many Actos cases that have been brought against Takeda argue that the drug makers ignored or minimized the diabetes drug’s ties to cancer risks prior to its being released in the United States in 1999. Lawsuits also argue that Takeda misled U.S. regulators about these risks.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously issued a warning about the risks associated with taking Actos. In fact, on June 15, 2011, the agency stated that taking the Type 2 diabetes drug for more than one year could significantly increase a patient’s risk of developing bladder cancer. The Actos safety label has been updated to address this risk, as well, the agency also noted.

Research has also tied taking Actos to increased risks for developing bladder cancer. In fact, the British Medical Journal published a study on May 31, 2012 that indicated that Actos users were twice as likely to develop bladder cancer after just two years. In other research, the Canadian Medical Association Journal indicated, in its July 3, 2012 issue, that Actos patients were 22 percent likelier to develop bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer symptoms include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling pain when urinating

In addition to the thousands of lawsuits pending, and at the country’s regulator’s request, Takeda pulled Actos from the French market. This was followed by the German government removing Actos from it list of reimbursed drugs, Bloomberg News previously reported.

Regarding the bellwether, national law firm, Parker Waichman LLP, announced that, according to court documents, the first Actos bellwether trial commenced, jury selection took place on January 27, pre-trial matters are scheduled for January 30-31, and the first witness is scheduled to testify February 3. The MDL is entitled In Re: Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2299) and is taking place in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. The Honorable Rebecca F. Doherty is presiding.

Parker Waichman LLP has maintained a leadership role throughout the Actos litigation. Jerrold S. Parker, founding partner of the firm, serves on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. “My firm represents a number of individuals who have used Actos and were thereafter diagnosed with bladder cancer and we are determined to fight for their rights,” said Mr. Parker.

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