Peter J. Flowers, partner of Meyers & Flowers Law Firm and the Co-Lead Counsel for the Plaintiffs in the Illinois State Court litigation against Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., announces that plaintiffs have opted in to the $2.4-billion Actos (pioglitazone) product liability resolution program. Once effective, the resolution program will pay compensation to more than 9,000 plaintiffs across the nation. In Illinois, the settlement will include nearly 5,000 victims, which Flowers represented as co-lead counsel.
“We are pleased to announce this settlement for the many, many Actos victims here in Illinois and help our clients find a measure of justice,” said Flowers, Co-Lead Counsel for the Plaintiffs in the Illinois litigation. “Takeda Pharmaceutical knew there was a link between Actos and a higher risk of bladder cancer before the drug was released more than 16 years ago, but they still proceeded to market. This settlement allows their victims, who believed they were taking a drug that would help not harm them, some solace as they rebuild their lives and hopefully heal.”
Takeda, the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan, released the diabetes drug Actos in 1999 and, to date, has sold more than $16 billion of the drug since its launch. Actos was developed to lower blood sugar levels in patients with type II diabetes. More than a decade after the drug’s launch in June 2011, the FDA issued a warning about the risk of bladder cancer for long-term use of Actos. The FDA defined long-term use as having taken the drug for longer than a year. At the time, the FDA held off issuing a recall until it had reviewed long-term studies that were in process to better determine the bladder cancer risk in relation to the benefit of the drug’s ability to lower blood sugar levels for diabetics. Simultaneously, France and Germany removed the drug from the market because of the bladder cancer risk.
Actos’ victims have suffered agonizing pain as of a result of bladder cancer, surgery to remove their bladders, chemotherapy treatment and ongoing recovery from their illnesses. In numerous cases, bladder cancer severely altered the victims’ quality of life, deprived them of normal bladder function and spread to other vital organs.
“Takeda had, and continues to have, a responsibility to patients, physicians and the public to test their pharmaceuticals and then accurately indicate any potentially harmful side effects. Settlements such as this illustrate an ongoing need to hold pharmaceutical and medical device companies to task for putting profits before patient safety,” Flowers said.