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New Lawsuit Blames Bladder Cancer on Diabetes Drug Actos

Jul 12, 2016

A lawsuit filed last month claims that the plaintiff's bladder cancer was caused by the type 2 diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone). The man was diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking Actos for six years.

The legal complaint says the man suffers permanent injuries, pain, and mental anguish, the Louisiana Record reports.

A number of Actos lawsuits in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in federal court in the Western District of Louisiana are moving through pretrial proceedings. Records indicated that as of June 15, 2016, there were more than 4,500 lawsuits consolidated in the MDL. Plaintiffs in these cases claim that Takeda Pharmaceuticals concealed data linking the use of Actos to the development of bladder cancer.

In June 2011, regulators in France and Germany suspended sales of Actos because of the possible link to bladder cancer. The decision followed a study commissioned by the French Medicines Agency. Results of the French study showed that people taking Actos had an increased risk of developing bladder cancer. The study examined cancer rates in some 155,000 people in France who took Actos in France between 2006 and 2009, and 1.3 million others with diabetes who were not taking Actos. The bladder cancer risk was about 22 percent higher among those taking the Actos compared with people taking other diabetes medications. The bladder cancer risk was highest in those receiving a cumulative dosage of 28,000 mg or more during the study period.

Studies of the possible link between Actos and bladder cancer have produced contradictory results, but research does show increased bladder cancer risk the longer the individual takes Actos and the higher the cumulative dose.

In the latest research, a study published earlier this year in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) found that Actos is linked to a 63 percent increased risk of bladder cancer and, further, that the risk is specific to Actos and is not seen in other drugs in the thiazolidinedione class. The researchers also found that the duration of Actos use and the cumulative dose were contributing factors to the bladder cancer risk.

In April, Takeda Pharmaceuticals announced a settlement program that would pay $2.37 billion if 95 percent of eligible plaintiffs agree to participate and $2.4 billion if 97 percent or more participate. To be eligible for the settlement program, the plaintiff must have received a prescription for an Actos medication (Actos, ACTOplus Met, ACTOplus Met XR, or Duetact) before December 1, 2011. The individual must have been diagnosed with bladder cancer before April 28, 2015, Bloomberg News reports. Each eligible plaintiff could receive more than $296,000, with the amount adjusted for factors such as age, smoking history, and exposure to toxins.

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