A U.S. district court judge has rejected the attempts of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and Eli Lilly & Co. to overturn the combined $9 billion punitive-damage award that a jury recently returned. The verdict came down in a case that involved claims that the drug makers chose to hide the cancer risks of their Actos diabetes drug. The presiding judge held that the jury properly considered evidence that showed officials of the Osaka, Japan-based Takeda, and Indianapolis-based Lily had advance knowledge that Actos was associated with bladder cancer and chose not to properly and efficiently warn doctors and patients about those risks.
However, although the judge upheld the jury’s verdict, the judge is still considering another motion that was brought post-trial by the defendants for a new trial. That motion is pending for a case of Terrence Allen v. Takeda, et al., which was the first federal trial over claims that Actos causes bladder cancer.
The widespread sales of the Actos pharmaceutical product reached its highest level on March 2011 when the product had sales of $4.5 billion and accounted for 27% of Takeda’s revenue in total. Since the time Actos was released by Takeda in 1999, it had made sales in excess of $16 billion. Today Takeda must contend with generic competition from other drug makers.
Eli Lily & Co. — Takeda’s U.S. sales partner — marketed Actos beginning in 1999. The partnership ended in 2006. However, Lily retained the rights to sell Actos in parts of Asia, Europe, Canada and Mexico. Terrence Allen was a former hardware-store manager from Attica, N.Y. He developed bladder cancer after taking Actos for more than five years beginning in 2006. In his lawsuit, it was alleged that the high management of Takeda ignored or downplayed the questions that were raised about the drug’s safety and its association with cancer as well as claiming that the company misled regulators to protect its abundant sales.
In the jury trial, the jurors found that Takeda and Lily acted with “wanton and reckless disregard” in selling Actos and that these companies should pay a combined $9 billion in punitive damages. According to a Bloomberg report, the verdict was the sixth-largest punitive damage award in the U.S. history. The jury also entered a verdict for $1.5 million in compensatory damages to the Allen family. The breakdown of the damages was that Takeda was to pay $6 billion in punitive damages, with Lily being responsible for paying the other $3 billion.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling pharmaceutical defect cases for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas. The law firm has also handled Actos cases. Kreisman law offices has handled cases in areas, including Worth, Palos Heights, Midlothian, Lockport, Kenilworth, Lisle, Hinsdale, Des Plaines, Cicero, Western Springs, St. Charles, Chicago (Sauganash, Sheffield, South Loop, West Loop, Wrigleyville, Chinatown, Loyola Park, Mayfair, Buena Park), Bensenville and Villa Park, Ill.
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