Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Eli Lilly and Company Ordered to Pay $9 Billion in Punitive Damages in Actos LitigationSep 8, 2014
Drug makers, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company and Eli Lilly and Company, have been ordered to pay a combined $9 billion in punitive damages in litigation involving Actos bladder cancer allegations.
Takeda and Eli Lilly lost a bid to have the first federal Actos trial tossed, the jury was deemed to have properly considered the case, and the settlement amounts have been deemed sound. In this first federal lawsuit, Takeda has been ordered to pay $6 billion in punitive damages and Eli Lilly, $3 billion, according to The Japan Times. The Court also ordered Takeda to pay $1.27 million in compensatory damages; Eli Lilly was ordered to pay the remainder of the $1.5 million compensatory damage total. Takeda and Eli Lilly were Actos sales and marketing partners for several years.
A prior National Law Journal report indicated that the 2013 net worth for Takeda was $23.7 billon and, for Eli Lilly, was $17.6 billion. Actos generated $24.2 billion in sales from 1999 until 2012, according to plaintiffs’ allegation. The $9 billion represents just 37 percent of the Actos-generated monies in the United States, alone, according to the report.
The bellwether lawsuit was brought by a couple who, according to court documents, allege that the husband took Actos for his Type 2 diabetes from 2004 through 2011; he developed bladder cancer in 2011. Allegations also include that Actos caused the cancer, that Takeda concealed Actos risks from the public, and that the man would never have taken Actos had he been informed of these risks. The rulings came after a United States jury order issued in April 2014 by the district court in Louisiana, according to a prior Bloomberg Businessweek report. Approximately 2,700 lawsuits have been filed into the Actos multidistrict litigation (MDL).
Meanwhile, in 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that using Actos for more than one year could substantially raise this cancer risk; patients with bladder cancer were advised against using Actos.
U.S. District Judge Doherty ruled that jurors had appropriately considered evidence that found that Takeda and Eli Lilly officials were aware of Actos’ association with bladder cancer, but did not to advise physicians and patients prior to their considering damage amounts. The verdict may be reduced on appeal, but is now the second largest in 2014 in the U.S. “The jury acted within its role and discretion to attach whatever weight and make whatever reasonable inference it deemed appropriate when assessing the defendants’ conduct,” Judge Doherty wrote in her decision.
Takeda and Eli Lilly moved for a new trial, wrote the National Law Journal report previously. Plaintiffs had previously indicated that a significant amount of evidence supported the jury's finding of inexcusable behavior, including that Takeda did not comply with a 2002 litigation hold to preserve evidence. The judge found Takeda acted in bad faith by destroying evidence that revealed it knew of Actos’ potential health risks.
Parker Waichman LLP has maintained a leadership role throughout the Actos litigation with founding partner, Jerrold S. Parker, serving on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.