Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to the public about the link between the drug Actos and bladder cancer, spurring a flood of product liability lawsuits against its manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and US distributor Eli Lilly. To date, 3,000 cases have been filed, and the first hearings on these cases began in March 22, 2012.
What is Actos?
Pioglitazone, marketed in the US as Actos, is a medication for Type 2 diabetes to control blood sugar. It replaced Avandia as the most prescribed diabetes medication when Avandia was linked to congestive heart failure. Unfortunately, further research demonstrated that Actos has the undesirable effect of increasing the risk for developing bladder cancer. The studies that would definitively prove the connection between the drug and these health risks are yet to be concluded, which is why Actos still has US Food and Drug Administration approval. It is still available as a prescribed drug in the US. However, it has been pulled out of the French and German markets.
Those who have used Actos and have developed bladder cancer, or close relatives of those who have used Actos and died of bladder cancer, comprise the majority of the 3,000 plaintiffs against Takeda and Eli Lilly. In August 2011, Takeda upgraded its labeling to include a warning regarding the increased risk of developing bladder cancer.
Can an Actos lawsuit still be filed today?
The new Actos label discourages the use of the drug for more than one year, perhaps to limit Takeda’s liability. However, bladder cancer develops some time after the use of the drug, so if you took Actos prior to the change in the labeling, and have since developed bladder cancer, you may still be eligible to sue for compensation for related medical bills and the concomitant pain and suffering. A lawyer specializing in this type of litigation would be the best person to advise on whether an Actos lawsuit is warranted for a particular case.