U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty, who is overseeing the Actos bladder cancer lawsuit multidistrict litigation in Lafayette, Louisiana, has appointed plaintiffs’ attorneys to leadership roles and key committees in the litigation. The first status conference in the Actos bladder cancer litigation is set for March 22nd and 23rd.
Judge Doherty decided to make the appointments in order allow the committees to have their initial planning sessions with the Court on March 23rd, while the attorneys are still in Lafayette. A total of 12 attorneys were named to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, including Jerrold Parker, managing partner with the national law firm of Parker Waichman LLP.
As we reported previously, all federally filed Actos bladder cancer lawsuits were ordered transferred to Judge Doherty by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in December. Plaintiffs accuse Takeda Pharmaceuticals and other defendants of concealing knowledge of Actos’ bladder cancer risks and failing to adequately warn consumer and health care providers about its association with bladder cancer.
According to a report from Bloomberg News, some legal experts believe Takeda could eventually face as many as 10,000 Actos bladder cancer lawsuits. A wave of litigation was sparked by a June 15 warning from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) that using Actos for more than one year could increase the risk of bladder cancer. That same month, the French and German governments decided to suspend sales of Actos in those countries after a study commissioned by French regulators demonstrated an increased risk of bladder cancer associated with Actos in people who took it the longest and at the highest cumulative dose. On July 12, Takeda Pharmaceuticals officially recalled Actos from the market in France.
As we’ve reported previously, Actos is the best selling type 2 diabetes drug in the world, and according to the Associated Press, Takeda says the drug accounted for $3.4 billion in sales in 2011. However, U.S. sales of Actos fell by roughly 3 percent last year.
In addition to appointing attorneys to the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the Actos litigation, Judge Doherty named plaintiff’s co-lead counsel, attorneys Richard Arsenault and Paul Pennock. She also appointed attorneys to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee and named plaintiffs’ liaison counsel, according to a notice posted on the Court’s website.