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Actos Bladder Cancer: MDL Panel Prepares to Meet

A panel of federal judges is scheduled to meet in Savannah, Georgia to hear oral arguments over whether all federal Actos bladder cancer lawsuits should be consolidated under one judge for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

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All of complaints allege that the plaintiffs developed bladder cancer from Actos. The lawsuits allege that Takeda Pharmaceuticals failed to adequately research their type 2 diabetes drug or warn about the potential bladder cancer side effects of Actos.

The first Actos bladder cancer lawsuit was filed on July 29, 2011, but recently the number of cases has increased over the past four months.

A motion to consolidate the Actos bladder cancer litigation was filed on August 31, by plaintiff Glen Weant and his wife, Nina. At that time, only 11 lawsuits pending in 8 different federal district courts were idenified.

Weant requested that the federal Actos litigation be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois before Judge G. Patrick Murphy. Since then, additional plaintiffs have filed responses proposing other U.S. District Judges to preside over the litigation.

Takeda’s attorneys agree that an Actos MDL should be formed to prevent contradictory rulings and duplicative discovery, the drug maker has proposed that the cases be consolidated in the Northern District of Illinois, where the drug maker is headquartered and where much of the company’s records are located. As an alternative, the drug maker proposed the Western District of Louisiana as an appropriate location for the Actos MDL to be centralized.

Actos (pioglitazone) was approved by FDA to treat Type 2 Diabetes in July, 1999. It is a once-a-day pill that increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin. The medication has grown in popularity in recent years, generating $4.3 billion in sales last year.

FDA officials began reviewing the potential risk of Actos bladder cancer problems in September 2010, after interim data from an on-going 10 year study found that users may face an increased risk the longer they take the drug.

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