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Actos Bladder Cancer Settlement Could Cost Takeda $2.7 Billion

Washington, DC – In what has been described as perhaps the largest settlement for a pharmaceutical drug that actively remains on the market, Takeda Pharmaceuticals of Japan will set aside as much as $2.4 billion to settle upwards of 9,000 pending lawsuits alleging Actos bladder cancer. The settlement could actually cost Takeda $2.7 billion, once costs are factored in.

As in most settlements, Takeda is not required to admit liability. On the surface, it appears that Takeda will be potentially spending $2.7 billion for the right to say it did nothing wrong. But of course, the issue is much more complex than that.

While there have been various Actos and bladder cancer lawsuits tried in state courts, the one and only Actos lawsuit tried in Louisiana federal court resulted in a verdict worth a combined $9 billion in punitive damages to the plaintiff against Takeda and Eli Lilly, which was initially involved in the marketing of Actos. TheNew York Times (4/28/15) reports that a judge later reduced that award to $36.8 million.

However, the writing was on the wall for Takeda: settle, or potentially spend billions more in costly litigation.

Critics are not crying for Takeda, given that Actos (pioglitazone) has achieved sales exceeding $24 billion since the Type 2 diabetes drug first went on the market in 1999, with no fewer than 100 million prescriptions written. The fortunes of Actos, which for years languished behind GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Avandia, benefited from a reversal of fortune for Avandia when it was revealed several years ago that the GSK drug carried a high risk for cardiovascular issues.

Credit: Gordon Gibb, Lawyers & Settlements


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