On Tuesday, a jury in the Las Vegas began deliberating to determine whether Takeda Pharmaceuticals is liable for the bladder cancer of two women, both in their 80s, who were diagnosed with the disease after taking the diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone).
Eli Lilly and Co. marketed Actos for Takeda in the United States from July 1999 to March 2006, the Associated Press (AP) reports. (Lilly is not a defendant in the Las Vegas trial but has been named in other lawsuits involving the drug.) In thousands of product liability lawsuits across the country, Takeda is accused of failing to inform consumers and doctors about the bladder cancer risk associated with Actos, though the company maintains that the “label accurately reflected what was available at the time,” according to the AP.
In June 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety announcement warning that taking Actos for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. Research published in 2012 in the British Medical Journal and the Canadian Medical Association Journal support this link, with the BMJ saying Actos users were twice as likely to develop the disease after just two years on the drug.
The women in the Las Vegas trial are asking the jury to award them $35 million and $25 million, respectively, in compensatory damages, according to the AP. If compensatory damages are awarded, the jury would also decide, in a separate phase, if Takeda is liable for punitive damages. Earlier this spring, a federal jury in Louisiana ordered Takeda and Lilly to pay more than $9 billion in damages to a former shopkeeper who developed bladder cancer after taking the drug. The judge is expected to lower the amount.