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A Louisiana jury has awarded $9 billion to a New York man who developed bladder cancer after taking Actos. The verdict, issued Monday night, orders Takeda Pharmaceuticals to pay $6 billion in punitive damages, and Eli Lilly to pay $3 billion.
Plaintiff Terrence Allen, a New York resident, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011 after taking Actos for more than four years. Mr. Allen and wife Susan brought the suit against Takeda, a Japanese pharmaceutical group, and Lilly, a pharmaceutical company based in Indianapolis, claiming the companies failed to warn that taking the drug could increase the risk of cancer. Mr. Allen’s case was the first lawsuit filed in the Actos Multi-District Litigation.
Actos, which was manufactured by Takeda and marketed in the US by Lilly, has been widely used since 1999 by diabetics to control blood sugar levels. The drug is FDA-approved, but several safety studies have revealed a link between the drug and an increased risk for bladder cancer.
Allen’s suit claimed that Takeda and Lilly continued to manufacture and market the drug despite learning of the drug’s danger and failed to relay the bladder cancer risk to the medical community.
The verdict, delivered by a jury of eight, found Takeda and Lilly responsible and issued the $9 billion verdict. The verdict also ordered $1.475 million in compensatory damages.
Weitz & Luxenberg’s Paul J. Pennock, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said he was glad to see his clients achieve justice. “I am extremely happy the Jury sent this message to Takeda and Eli Lilly, as well as other pharmaceutical companies who would put their consumers at risk,” said Pennock. “At the same time, there are hundreds of others who were injured by Actos. They all deserve the same justice, so we have a long fight ahead of us.”
The trial (Allen et al. v. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., # 6:12-cv-00064) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.