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Trial for Actos Lawsuit Continues in Nevada State Court

The third Actos trial in the country is continuing in Nevada state court, where the second week of testimony is concluding in a lawsuit that alleges Takeda Pharmaceuticals failed to provide adequate warnings about the risk of bladder cancer from Actos.

An Actos lawsuit filed by Allen Alsabagh began on November 21, in the Eighth Judicial District Court of Nevada for Clarks County in Las Vegas. The trial is expected to continue through the middle of this month before jury deliberations will begin.

The case is only the third to reach a jury out of more than 3,000 complaints filed nationwide against Takeda, which all involve similar claims that plaintiffs developed bladder cancer following the long-term use of the popular diabetes drug.

According to allegations raised by Alsabagh, Takeda has known or should have known about the potential Actos bladder cancer side effects and withheld information about the risk until they were forced to update the warning label in 2011. Alsabagh began taking the drug before the new label warnings were put in place, the lawsuit claims.

In the two previous trials for Actos lawsuits, juries have found that Takeda failed to adequately warn about the risk and returned multi-million dollar damage awards for plaintiffs. In the first case, involving a lawsuit brought by Jack Cooper in California state court, the jury awarded $6.5 million in damages over Actos bladder cancer, but the judge later reversed the award after excluding the plaintiffs’ expert witness testimony. In the second case, involving a complaint brought by the family of Diep An in Maryland state court, the jury awarded $1.7 million in damages, but that verdict was overturned under a unique state law after the jury found that the plaintiff failed to exercise reasonable care for his own health.

Actos Bladder Cancer Litigation

Actos (pioglitazone) is a type 2 diabetes drug that has been used by millions of Americans. However, it has been the subject of a growing number of product liability lawsuits over the past three years after concerns emerged about a connection between bladder cancer and Actos in September 2010.

In the federal court system, all Actos cases are centralized before U.S. District Judge Rebecca H. Doherty in the Western District of Louisiana as part of an MDL or Multidistrict Litigation. A small group of cases in the federal Actos litigation are being prepared for early trial dates, which are expected to begin early next year.

In complex pharmaceutical litigation, where a large number of lawsuits are brought involving similar injuries caused by a prescription medication, these early trials are often used to gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation. Therefore, it is widely regarded as troubling news for Takeda that two juries have already found that the drug maker failed to adequately warn about the Actos bladder cancer risk and awarded substantial damages.

The outcome of the Alsabagh case and the federal bellwether trials set to begin next year are being closely watched by product liability lawyers involved in the litigation, as it may facilitate further negotiations to settle Actos cases without the need to schedule thousands of individual cases for trial across the country

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