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Takeda offers $2.2 billion to resolve Actos damages claims

Published on 01/04/15 at 11:33am
Actos image

Takeda has attempted to settle its hefty damages bill over claims it was hiding cancer risks in its diabetes drug Actos by offering to pay $2.2 billion.

The statements made last year accused the Japanese firm of covering up concerns that Actos (pioglitazone) can cause or worsen heart failure, plus slightly increase the risk of bladder cancer.

In what will be one of the largest US settlements of patient lawsuits, Takeda is set to resolve over 8,000 court litigations with each costing around $275,000 per case.

Carl Tobias, who is a lecturer of law studies at the University of Richmond in Virginia told Bloomberg: “This is a strong signal that Takeda really wants to settle these cases so it can avoid any more huge verdicts. But the per-case number indicates they don’t want to have to pay a premium to settle these claims.”

The drug in question works by assisting patients with type 2 diabetes to improve their blood glucose levels. Takeda started retailing Actos in the US in 1999 and since then has generated more than $16 billion in global sales.

In 2011 the treatment was banned in France and Germany after an FDA conducted review claimed that using Actos for more than one year could increase the risk of cancer. After this it received a ‘Boxed Warning’ from regulators but was not officially taken off the market.

Takeda has faced at least nine trials over its diabetes drug since 2013, including allegations made by a patient Terrence Allen that the firm was aware of the link between Actos and bladder cancer but chose to withhold the information from consumers, and the healthcare industry.

Allen was diagnosed with bladder cancer in January 2011 and claimed to have been using the drug since 2004. Takeda was ordered by the courts to pay him $36,000 in damages.

Following the ruling Takeda’s shares fell by about 9%, their biggest drop in five years.

So far a total of 3,500 lawsuits have been consolidated before Judges in Louisiana, the company faces a further 4,500 cases across courts in Pennsylvania, California, Illinois and West Virginia.

Tom Robinson

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