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Jury Begins Deliberating in Nevada Actos Bladder Cancer Trial

Filed May 21st, 2014 Cynthia Diaz-Shephard

Jury deliberations are underway in the civil trial involving allegations that Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ diabetes drug Actos caused two Nevada women to develop cancer.

The women claim their use of Actos caused their bladder cancer, and they allege the pharmaceutical company did not warn users of the potential dangers, 8newsnow.com reported.

The women, both in their 80s, are seeking a multi-billion dollar verdict, which would be the largest in Nevada history, according to 8newsnow.com.

Takeda has argued that it has never hid the link between Actos and bladder cancer. Actos was marketed for Takeda in the U.S. by Eli Lilly and Co. from July 1999 to March 2006 and in several other countries until 2011. The controversial drug was pulled from the market in Germany and France after a study revealed the drug’s link to bladder cancer was much stronger than originally believed. That June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning that use of Actos for more than one year was linked with an increased risk of bladder cancer. The FDA said that the safety label would be updated to reflect this risk.

Nevada District Court Judge Kerry Earley informed the jurors before the start of closing arguments that they could infer that evidence Takeda lost or destroyed may have been unfavorable to the company, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

A similar trial is ongoing in Chicago where Actos is being blamed for a man developing bladder cancer in 2006. William Whitlatch took Actos to treat his Type 2 diabetes and died of bladder cancer in 2006, according to Bloomberg News. William’s family blamed his death on the use of Actos and argued in court that they should receive at least $10 million for pain, suffering and financial losses related to his death. The jury was also told that Takeda was aware of the bladder cancer risks but failed to adequately disclose this information. The lawsuit is the first of over 3,000 cases filed in Illinois to go to trial.

Six weeks ago, a federal jury in Louisiana ordered Takeda and Lilly to pay an excess of $9 billion to a former shopkeeper who developed bladder cancer after taking the drug. Takeda was ordered to pay $ 6 billion and Lilly the other $3 billion. The order caused Takeda’s shares to fall more than 5 percent. The award is likely to be reduced, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. Lilly was ordered to pay $3 billion of that award, but said its agreement with Takeda indemnifies it from legal losses involving Actos.

Last year, state juries in California and Maryland ordered Takeda to pay a total of $8.2 million in damages to former Actos users, but judges in both states dismissed the verdicts.

Over the last few years, multiple studies have linked Actos to bladder cancer. In May 2012, the British Medical Journal published a study that found that Actos users are at a significantly higher risk of bladder cancer after two years. The Canadian Medical Association Journal followed with a study in July 2012 showing a 22 percent increased risk of bladder cancer among Actos patients.

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