After 4 years of intense Actos litigation, surrounding the link between the use of Actos and the development of bladder cancer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals is signaling the raising of the white flag, by entering into a series of settlement discussions.
Serious effort are underway to try and resolve all of the Actos bladder cancer lawsuits. According to an order issued on March 17 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Hanna, there are five settlement meetings scheduled between April 16, 2015 and March 18, 2016, before the next “bellwether” trial goes before a federal jury.
The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal Actos bladder cancer lawsuits will require the parties to discuss settlements in advance of a bellwether trial scheduled in May 2016. In that trial at least five different cases are consolidated for trial before one jury.
There are more than 4,000 Actos product liability and personal injury lawsuits against Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, winding their way through the federal court system. The plaintiffs, blame the manufacturers of the popular blockbuster diabetes drug failing to warn about the risk of bladder cancer.
Louisiana Federal Multidistrict Litigation
Since December 2011, federal lawsuits have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Rebecca F. Doherty in the Western District of Louisiana, as part of an MDL, or Multi-District Litigation. It is common in mass tort pharmaceutical and medical device cases, that small groups of cases are prepared for early trial dates, known as “bellwether” cases.
$9 Billion Gangbuster Verdict
The first federal Actos trial ended in a record breaking $9 billion jury verdict last year. The jury found evidence that the drug makers deliberately destroyed documents about Actos and bladder cancer link. Takeda officials intentionally destroyed documents about the development, marketing and sales of Actos. Takeda also deleted the files of 46 former and current employees, including those of top executives in Japan and U.S. sales representatives.
Judge Doherty post verdict, reduced the punitive damage award in the case to $37 million. The case is on appeal.
9,000 Actos Bladder Cancer Lawsuits Cannot Be Wrong
More than 4,500 Actos suits have been consolidated before a federal judge in Louisiana for pretrial information exchanges. According to court documents, Takeda is exposed to another 4,500 claims in state courts in Illinois, West Virginia and Pennsylvania,
Actos Blockbuster Diabetic Drug
Actos has generated more than $16 billion in sales since its 1999 release, according to Bloomberg News. Sales peaked in the year ended in March 2011 at $4.5 billion.
The most recent trial in Philadelphia, is the ninth Actos patient to take bladder-cancer claims before a jury, and the fifth case to score a victory against the Asian pharmaceutical giant. The company folks in Osaka, Japan will have to give serious thought to stop the hemorrhaging of money in the defense of these indefensible bladder cancer cases and go for a global settlement.
Second Bellwether Trials Scheduled
The next consolidated trial will involve five cases originally filed in the Western District of Louisiana and will go before one jury beginning on May 2, 2016. The Court will make a final designation of the cases that will go forward at that time by June 1, 2015.
Several Actos bladder cancer cases have have been tried in state court, with multi-million damage awards awarded in many of the cases. Most recently, Takeda was recently hammered with a $3.6 million damage award in a Pennsylvania case, including $1.3 million in punitive damages designed to punish the drug makers.