Following trial in Pennsylvania state court, a Philadelphia jury decided late Friday to award more than $2 million to a woman diagnosed with bladder cancer following use of the popular diabetes drug Actos.
Frances Wisniewski filed the lawsuit against Takeda Pharmaceuticals, alleging that the drug maker failed to adequately warn consumers and the medical community about the risk of bladder cancer from Actos side effects
The case is one of several thousand Actos lawsuits pending nationwide, which all involve similar claims brought on behalf of former users of the diabetes drug, which has been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer following long-term use.
Wisniewski claimed that the drug caused her to require two surgeries to remove her bladder cancer in 2007 and 2008. Although Takeda attempted to convince the jury that it was her 30 years of smoking that led to the development of the cancer, the state court jury awarded $2,050,000 following five hours of deliberations at the end of the trial last week.
Actos Bladder Cancer Lawsuits
Takeda Pharmaceuticals has had mixed results in several early trials that have gone before juries nationwide.
In May 2013, a California jury awarded $6.5 million in damages over Actos bladder cancer in a case brought by Jack Cooper, who was given an expedited trial date due to his grave health. However, following post-trial motions, that verdict was reversed when the state court judge excluded the plaintiffs’ expert witness testimony.
A second trial was held in Maryland state court in September 2013, which resulted in a jury finding that Takeda failed to adequately warn about the risk of bladder cancer from Actos and awarding $1.77 million in damages. However, the case resulted in a defense verdict for the drug maker under a Maryland’s contributory negligence law, as the jury also found that the plaintiff failed to exercise reasonable care for his own health, which nullified the drug maker’s negligence.
In the federal court system, where more than 3,500 Actos cases have been centralized in the Western District of Louisiana as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, a series of early trial dates have been scheduled to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the Actos litigation.
The first federal Actos trial resulted in a record setting $9 billion punitive damages award in April, which was designed to punish the drug makers for recklessly endangering the lives of patients to make money, by withholding important information about the cancer risks with Actos.
While the outcomes of these early trials are not binding in other claims, they are being closely watched by lawyers involved in the litigation, as they may influence eventual Actos settlement agreements that Takeda may try to reach to avoid the risks associated with facing juries in thousands of cases spread across the country.