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Takeda Worried That Risk of Bladder Cancer Would Damage Actos Sales

Filed April 16th, 2013 edlieber1

Officials at Takeda Pharmaceuticals were so concerned about sales of its leading Type 2 diabetes drug Actos that they knowingly hid evidence that it could cause life-threatening cases of bladder cancer.

This is the assertion made by an attorney representing Jack Cooper, a California man who claims he developed terminal bladder cancer as a result of taking the top-selling drug from the Japanese firm, according to a Bloomberg News report. Closing statements were delivered earlier this week, and jurors were expected to be handed the case to decide sometime this week. This is the first case to reach a jury in which one person who took Actos claims it caused bladder cancer.

During the trial, Cooper’s side produced internal Takeda emails which discuss Actos’s possible link to bladder cancer. These messages date back to 2004 but it was not until 2011 that Takeda and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that taking Actos for more than a year could increase a person’s chance of developing the terminal disease. The FDA had been urging Takeda for at least five years before then to address concerns and update labels to reflect the risk posed by its drug, according to the Bloomberg News report.

In one email presented during the trial, Takeda executive Kiyoshi Kitazawa wrote, “Actos is the most important product for Takeda and therefore we need to manage this issue very carefully and successfully not to cause any damage for this product globally,” Bloomberg reports.


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