A group of lawsuits being filed against Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals received a date for an initial court hearing over claims that the drug maker's medication, Actos, increased the risk of users developing bladder cancer. The lawsuits contend that Takeda should be held accountable in the wrongful death cases of users whose deaths were connected to the medication.
Takeda is expected to face thousands of lawsuits over its diabetes medication, including claims from Arizona users of Actos. Although Takeda ceased sales of Actos in both France and Germany last year, the company continued to make the drug available in the United States after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning alerting consumers and health care professionals of the potential cancer risks posed by the drug.
Actos was first approved by the FDA in 1999, and it has continued to be sold in the United States since. Lawsuits against Takeda are alleging that the drug maker engaged in wrongful conduct by failing to fully disclose its knowledge of the potential cancer effects of Actos. They cite research determining that users of the medication who take Actos for more than one year face an increased risk of bladder cancer.
Takeda has objected to the lawsuits, saying it consistently strives to identify potential risks posed by any of its products. Although Actos sales in the United States fell by about three percent last year, it continues to be the top-selling medication for Type 2 diabetes. In 2011 alone, it claimed $3.4 billion in sales.
Source: CBS News, "Judge sets 1st hearing for diabetes drug lawsuits," Feb. 14, 2012