Enough claimants have signed on to trigger a $2.4 billion payment from Takeda Pharmaceuticals to settle a large dose of the litigation pending against the drugmaker over the alleged negative effects of its Actos diabetes drug, lawyers for thousands of the plaintiffs have announced.
On Oct. 7, Meyers & Flowers, a law firm based in St. Charles, Ill., in Chicago’s west suburbs, said it has confirmed enough of the 9,000 plaintiffs nationwide have opted into a resolution program established under a settlement agreement earlier this year to prompt the payment from the Japanese pharmaceutical company.
The plaintiffs represented by Meyers & Flowers, who were co-lead counsel on the Illinois litigation, included about 5,000 Illinois residents, the law firm said. Previously, Meyers & Flowers had indicated the settlement would include about 4,000 plaintiffs who filed complaints against Takeda in Cook County.
Takeda, which operates its North American business out of its headquarters in Deerfield, had indicated in mid-September it believed enough plaintiffs had agreed to participate in the resolution program to satisfy the requirements of the settlement agreement. At that time, Takeda said it believed 96 percent of eligible claimants had opted into the settlement program, but was awaiting the results of a review of the claims before officially confirming the announcement.
The settlement agreement was first announced in late April 2015 by Takeda and Meyers & Flowers. At that time, Takeda said it believed the settlement would “resolve the vast majority” of product liability lawsuits Takeda faced over its Actos medication. Under the terms of the agreement, should at least 95 percent of those currently suing Takeda opt into the settlement, Takeda would agree to pay out $2.37 billion. If that number were to hit 97 percent, the payout would increase to $2.4 billion.
The litigation contended Takeda knew patients taking Actos to treat symptoms of Type 2 diabetes faced an increased risk of developing bladder cancer, yet concealed the information from the public since releasing the drug in 1999.
In 2011, the federal Food and Drug Administration warned long-term Actos users – defined as those using the drug for more than a year – could develop bladder cancer. Other countries, including France and Germany, pulled Actos from circulation.
Takeda said the settlement agreement “does not change the company’s continued commitment to Actos” and it intends to continue to market Actos in 95 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, Brazil and Russia.
Meyers & Flowers has said it believes Takeda has amassed more than $16 billion in sales from Actos in the past 16 years.
Attorney Peter J. Flowers, a partner at Meyers & Flowers, said in his firm’s release he believes the settlement and resulting payments represent “a measure of justice” for plaintiffs who he has alleged suffered after taking Actos.
“Takeda Pharmaceutical knew there was a link between Actos and a higher risk of bladder cancer before the drug was released more than 16 years ago, but they still proceeded to market,” Flowers said. “This settlement allows their victims, who believed they were taking a drug that would help not harm them, some solace as they rebuild their lives and hopefully heal.”