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Takeda Pharmaceuticals now faces a potential Actos class action on behalf of Australians and New Zealanders, mirroring claims made by individuals throughout the United States who allege that they developed bladder cancer from Actos.
Actos (pioglitazone) is a once-daily pill that was approved by the FDA in July 1999 for treatment of type 2 diabetes. The medication increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin. However, new bladder cancer warnings were added in the United States in 2011, indicating that users may face an increased risk of bladder tumors after using the medication for more than year.
According to foreign media reports, a legal action has been initiated by Peter Marshall, a grandfather from Bisbane, Australia, who indicates that he was diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking Actos for 17 months. Marshall indicates that despite the U.S. warnings and an Actos recall being required in Germany and France, users in Australia and New Zealand were not told to avoid taking Actos if they had bladder cancer or there was a family history.
Allegations raised in the Actos cancer class action lawsuit indicate that Takeda Pharmaceuticals failed to adequately research the side effects of their blockbuster medication or provide adequate information about the link between Actos and cancer.
Marshall is calling for a group action lawsuit that would include users in Australia and New Zealand.
Actos Lawsuits in the U.S.
Thousands of Actos lawsuits are pending in state and federal courts throughout the United States, raising similar allegations that Takeda Pharmaceuticals withheld information about the risk of cancer from Actos and failed to provide adequate warnings for users or the medical community.
Earlier this year, the first Actos trial was presented in California state court, resulting in a jury award of $6.5 million in damages for a man diagnosed with bladder cancer. However, following post-trial motions to exclude certain expert witness testimony, the damage award was reversed by the presiding judge earlier this month.
Most of the Actos bladder cancer cases filed nationwide are pending in the federal court system, where the cases have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or Multi-District Litigation, which has been centralized before U.S. District Judge Rebecca H. Doherty in the Western District of Louisiana.
According to a scheduling order issued in the federal Actos litigation, the first trial in the MDL is scheduled to begin on January 27, 2014. This will be followed by a second trial date set to begin on April 14, 2014. Judge Doherty has indicated that deadlines and trial dates set by the court are to be considered “hard and fast,” indicating that they will not be extended, continued or delayed unless there is “extraordinarily good cause shown.”
These early trial dates are designed to help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout other cases. The outcomes may ultimately help facilitate Actos settlement agreements in a number of other cases.