After three and a half weeks of selecting a jury from a pool of 400 Clark County citizens, the Actos trial continues to play out in Las Vegas, Nevada. The case is noteworthy because the plaintiffs, Bertha Triana and Delores Cipriano, are seeking the largest jury award in Nevada history. Japanese pharmaceutical giant Takeda is accused of failing to inform consumers and medical professionals about the risk of bladder cancer associated with its drug Actos. Actos, released in 1999, was marketed as a drug to treat Type II diabetes by helping sensitize cells to insulin, thus assisting in blood sugar control. However, a warning label was not added to Actos until 2011 when FDA officials found an analysis of a company- sponsored study showing some Actos users faced an increased risk of developing bladder cancer or heart problems. Takeda pulled Actos off the market in Germany and France that same year at the request of those countries’ regulators.
Lead trial counsel Robert Eglet of Eglet Wall Christiansen laid out the product liability case for jurors:
“The link to bladder cancer from Actos was well documented time and time again and yet medical professionals and consumers were never advised of these risks. These pharmaceutical companies have a responsibility to fully disclose to the consumer all of the facts so that they can make an informed decision weighing not only the benefits but the risks of the drugs. And unfortunately, due to Takeda Pharmaceutical’s conscious decision to keep this information from consumers and their doctors, we now have patients who are left to bear the permanent injury caused by Actos. That’s why we will be asking for a multi-billion dollar punitive damage verdict.”
Mr. Eglet, current National Trial Lawyer of the Year, holds the three largest personal injury verdicts in Nevada history and more multi-million dollar verdicts than any trial attorney in Nevada history.
Eglet concluded, “This could have been avoided. This should have been avoided. And we are going to make sure Takeda is held responsible for their actions.”
Two more studies involving humans showed the drug causes bladder cancer, according to Eglet.
He says a study in Europe found a person is 160 percent more likely to develop blood cancer while taking Actos compared to other diabetes drugs.
Takeda’s attorney, D’lesli Davis called the lawsuit “misplaced blame.” She claims other factors may have caused the cancer, and that Cipriano had signs of bladder cancer a month before she started taking Actos.
Despite the hundreds of lawsuits filed across the country, Takeda’s attorney insists that Actos is safe and the company is dedicated to patient safety.