Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. agreed to pay up to $2.4 billion to settle U.S. suits charging that the drug maker hid the cancer risk of its Actos diabetes drug. The Wall Street Journal reports Japan’s biggest drug maker by revenue said the move is expected to resolve the “vast majority” of product liability lawsuits pending in the U.S.
The settlement is expected to be split among about 9,000 people. The plaintiffs primarily alleged that their use of Actos caused or contributed to the development of bladder cancer and that Takeda didn’t adequately warn of the risk.
Lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard are representing clients who have been injured by the drug. Actos was meant to improve the control of blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. According to the FDA, more than 2 million people filled prescriptions for Actos in 2010. However, in June 2011, U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that taking pioglitazone-containing medications such as Actos for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer.
Patients who had used pioglitazone for longer than 12 months showed a 40 percent increase in the risk of developing bladder cancer. According to the FDA, Data from the French National Health Insurance Plan covering about 1.5 million diabetes patients followed for up to four years also showed a statistically significant increase in the risk for bladder cancer in patients using pioglitazone compared to patients taking other diabetes medications.
Bloomgberg Business reports Takeda has faced at least 9 trials since 2013 over claims it hid Actos’s cancer risks. Five juries that have reviewed the evidence of Takeda’s handing of Actos have found the company liable for consumers’ injuries. Former Actos users argued Takeda executives ignored or downplayed concerns about the drug’s cancer-causing potential before it went on sale in the U.S. in 1999 and misled U.S. regulators about the medicine’s risks.
Now, that the company has agreed to settle Actos lawsuits, patients will be able to get the compensation they deserve. According to Takeda, the settlement will become effective if 95% of current litigants and claimants opt into it.