Takeda Pharmaceutical Company is Asia's largest drugmaker. It may also be the recipient of the largest number of lawsuits in history over a drug. It makes Actos, a diabetic drug. Actos may also cause bladder cancer as alleged in hundreds of lawsuits proceeding across the country. Now, as more suits are filed, these cases may be consolidated into one legal proceeding very near to us.
U.S. regulators in June found that a Takeda sponsored study showed that some users of Actos faced an increased risk of developing potentially fatal bladder cancer. Claims against the manufacturer are being processed every day, and those investigating Actos say that the evidence is unusually clear and strong for causation of cancer.
Takeda Pharmaceutical pulled the drug off the market in Germany and France earlier this year. Actos has been marketed in the U.S. by Eli Lilly & Company of Indianapolis. Some Actos users who have gotten bladder cancer say, "If we had known what it would cause, we would have taken other drugs that are out there to treat diabetes, drugs that don't cause cancer." Proof of Actos' causation of cancer may be easier than proof of causation in most drug cases, because bladder cancer is generally considered to be a signature injury of a drug. Translating this medical-legal jargon, that means that bladder cancer rarely results from anything other than Actos. Certainly, it occurs but not often.
Few things other than Actos cause bladder cancer. In contrast, many things cause strokes or heart attacks. Unfortunately for Takeda, there is mounting evidence that Actos is responsible for heart attacks and strokes, too. Takeda is about to face a very bad time. What is behind the plethora of drug product liability cases in the world? Take, for example, Vioxx, Avandia, and many others. Now Actos. Some say greed on the part of manufacturers rushing drugs to market. We will see.