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Chicago Jury Rejects Family’s Claim that Actos Gave Their Husband and Father the Bladder Cancer that Eventually Took his Life

Filed May 16th, 2014 Laurie

A Chicago jury decided yesterday that Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is not responsible for the death of a 57-year-old man who died of bladder cancer after taking the company’s Type 2 diabetes medication, Actos.

The lawyer urged the jury to award at least $10 million to the wife and children of William Whitlatch for pain, suffering, and financial losses caused by his death in 2006. During the closing arguments of the four-week trial, the attorney accused Takeda of failing to disclose the risks associated with Actos, according to Bloomberg News.

Whitlatch died in 2006 at the age of 57. He had been a machinist for the Peoria, Illinois-based company, Caterpillar. Whitlatch began taking Actos in 1999 and his family claimed he was not warned about the risk of bladder cancer, according to BusinessWeek.com.

Takeda’s attorney argued that the Whitlatch legal team had failed to prove that Actos caused William’s death, and noted that the man was diabetic and a former smoker, which increased his likelihood of developing cancer, Bloomberg News reported.

After less than two hours of deliberation, the jury of seven men and five women returned with a unanimous verdict, according to DrugWatch.com.

Last month, a federal jury ordered Takeda and Eli Lilly & Co. to pay $9 billion in punitive damages after discovering the drug manufacturers hid Actos cancer risks. The companies said they will appeal, according to BusinessWeek.com.

In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added a warning to Actos’ drug label that says “there may be an increased chance of having bladder cancer when patients take Actos.”

More than 3,000 Actos cases are awaiting trial in Illinois and some experts say that number could reach 10,000. Another bladder cancer trial is currently underway in Nevada. Bertha Triana, 80, and Delores Cipriano, 81, claim their bladder cancer was caused by Actos. They are seeking more than $1 billion in damages. Closing arguments are expected to begin Monday, DrugWatch.com reported.

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