Jury Rules Takeda Failed to Warn About Actos Risks

Takeda is the Osaka-based manufacturer of the drug Actos. This drug is used to combat diabetes, specifically to manage high blood sugar in patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The Diep An Case
Diep was a former Army translator. After using Actos as prescribed he died as a result of bladder cancer and his family filed a lawsuit against manufacturer Takeda. The jury in this case found, after more than six hours of deliberation, that Takeda was responsible because it did not warn Diep An about the possible risks of the drug.

In fact, the jury found that Takeda hid the dangers of the drug from Diep An. However, the case was thrown out by judge Brooke Murdock because a contributory cause of An’s death was his 30-year smoking habit. The legal precedence for this decision is based on the state’s contributory negligence law, which has not been overturned despite numerous bills attempting to do so since 1966. This law states that plaintiffs can not collect any damages if they are found to be at fault in some capacity.

An’s lawyers sought $4 million in damages after An died in January 2012, only four months after being diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer. They were unable to overcome evidence proving An smoked two packs of cigarettes a day until 1996, smoking being a contributory cause of bladder cancer.

Age-standardised death rates from Bladder canc...

Age-standardised death rates from Bladder cancer by country (per 100,000 inhabitants). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other Actos Cases
The outcome of the Diep An case is the norm for Takeda regarding other suits filed against its drug Actos. Out of six recent cases the company has won five, although the case they did lose came with a judgement of $9 billion in punitive damages ($3 billion for Eli Lily and $6 billion for Takeda) in addition to $1.5 million in damages awarded to the family. However, this decision is unlikely to have any affect on what the company actually pays out. The case is being appealed and the Supreme Court previously ruled that punitive damages can not be drastically out of proportion to actual damages, suggesting a ratio of 10:1.