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First U.S. Actos trial underway in California Superior Court

In March 2013, the first trial of a lawsuit involving the diabetes drug, Actos, and its alleged link with bladder cancer began in a Los Angeles courtroom.
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    March 23, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- First U.S. Actos trial underway in California Superior Court

In early March 2013, the first trial of a lawsuit involving the diabetes drug, Actos, began in a Los Angeles courtroom. The case involves a type 2 diabetes patient who took Actos to treat his diabetes symptoms and then developed bladder cancer. The plaintiff sued Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the drug manufacturing giant based in Osaka, Japan, alleging that the company hid evidence of a dangerous link between its drug and a heightened chance of developing bladder cancer.

A Bloomberg article details early testimony in the case by Howard Greenberg, a drug researcher and pharmacologist, who testified for the plaintiff about internal Takeda company communications that reportedly raised more concern about profits than for patient safety.


In early 2012, Jack and Nancy Cooper filed their product liability lawsuit against Takeda Pharmaceuticals and related companies in California state court based on Jack's severe bladder cancer, allegedly caused by taking Actos for more than two years to treat his diabetes. In their complaint, the Coopers assert that Takeda concealed its knowledge that the drug had "unreasonably dangerous risks" and failed to warn and educate patients and doctors about the elevated chance of bladder cancer from taking the medication.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a permanent disorder in which the body is unable to metabolize sugar normally, causing abnormal glucose levels. The disease can damage important organs, including the heart, skin, eyes and kidneys. It can cause severe nerve damage and pain. Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are also associated with this potentially fatal illness.

Some people can control the disease with diet and exercise, but many must regularly measure blood sugar levels, take insulin and sometimes other medications. One of those medications is pioglitazone, which sensitizes the body to insulin.

The pioglitazone drug, Actos

Takeda sold pioglitazone under the brand name Actos, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved in 1999, according to Bloomberg. Bloomberg also reports that in the year ending in March 2011, Takeda had Actos sales of $4.5 billion, but that in 2012, Takeda's patent for Actos expired.

The media and Cooper's complaint are replete with information about various studies linking Actos to bladder cancer and about European and U.S. governmental regulatory activity in response to concerns that Actos might be a dangerous drug. For example, both Germany and France ordered that Actos not be sold in their respective markets in 2011, according to Bloomberg.

Takeda's response

In its defense, Takeda reportedly argued in court that Cooper was already at higher risk of bladder cancer because he smoked and because of his gender.

The Mayo Clinic says that individuals may not know what precisely caused their bladder cancers, but that it is associated with pioglitazone-containing medications like Actos, as well as with smoking, older age, being Caucasian or male, exposure to particular chemicals, previous cancer treatments, certain parasites, chronic bladder infection or inflammation and family history. Unfortunately, bladder cancer tends to reoccur after treatment.

Many are watching the Cooper trial with interest, as many other Actos lawsuits have been filed around the country both in federal and state courts. In the meantime, if you or a loved one has taken Actos or another potentially dangerous medication, speak with an experienced product liability attorney about any resulting harm and to learn about your rights and possible legal remedies.

The Cooper suit, for example, was based on several legal claims, including negligence, negligent failure to warn, negligent and fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of express and implied warranties, strict product liability, unjust enrichment and several other legal theories.

Article provided by Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo P.C.
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