Actos, a prescription drug designed to help diabetes patients manage their blood sugar levels, is one of the best selling drugs in the United States, bringing in over $2.4 billion dollars in sales. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have taken Actos, but many may be unaware of the increased danger of bladder cancer that long-term usages of Actos can bring.
In early testing, Actos was found to provide only a small increase in the chance of contracting Actos bladder cancer while taking the drug. However, in September 2010, the FDA announced that Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Actos, provided interim data spanning five years that suggests there may be a risk of bladder cancer the longer the medication is used. After 24 months, the rate of exposure and the increased Actos cancer risk reached statistical significance. In June 2011, an Actos recall was issued in France after health authorities ordered doctors to stop prescribing the drug due to the possible risk of bladder cancer.
Germany has also pulled the drug completely off of the market. The sale of Actos is still allowed in the United States at this time, but the FDA has issued a warning about the product and the risk of bladder cancer. The FDA has also ordered the manufacturer to change the wording on the drug’s warning labels. Despite the enhanced warning labels on the drug, this does not mean that patients who have contracted Actos bladder cancer after taking Actos long-term to treat their diabetes cannot file an Actos lawsuit.
Because of these new findings, dozens of Actos lawsuits have been filed by people seeking redress for their injuries. A class action lawsuit has recently been filed in Louisiana against Takeda pharmaceuticals claiming that information about the danger of Actos bladder cancer was suppressed or hidden from the general public. The Actos lawsuit also alleges that the manufacturer had significant financial incentives to try and prevent the spread of the information. In general, anyone who was prescribed the drug is a potential class member of the Actos lawsuit, even if they did not contract Actos bladder cancer while taking the drug.
A motion was filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers in August to centralize the federal litigation over bladder cancer from Actos into an “MDL”. An “MDL”, or Multi-District Litigation, is a powerful tool useful in mass torts litigation and I have blogged extensively about the benefits of the procedure. Pittman, Dutton & Hellums has represented many injured plaintiffs in a number of MDL’s including In re: Total Body Formula, In Re: Chinese-manufactured Drywall and In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. ASR Hip Implant.
Although Takeda Pharmaceuticals has indicated they agree the lawsuits should be consolidated for discovery and pretrial proceedings, they disagree about where the cases should be centralized. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation heard oral arguments for a motion for centralization of the Actos lawsuits on December 1, at their hearing session at the Tomochichi United States Courthouse in Savannah, Georgia. All lawsuits allege that defendants, including Takeda Pharmaceuticals, were negligent and failed to warn of the risks associated with the medication. The motion for the MDL was filed on August 31 by plaintiffs Glen and Nina Weant. Our firm filed a brief advocating for the MDL to be located in Birmingham, Alabama.
As a patient who was prescribed Actos, either for diabetes glucose management or any other reason, you need to be aware of the increased risk of Actos bladder cancer that taking Actos brings. If you have Actos bladder cancer, or believe that you may have Actos bladder cancer, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 1-866-515-8880.