Product Liability

Actos maker hopes to push diabetes drug in China

Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., is reading the writing on the wall, and looking for other money-making opportunities outside its home and the United States. The move is an attempt for Takeda to stabilize its finances in anticipation of a decline in sales of its best-selling diabetes treatment Actos. Not only does Actos face generic competition in August, it is also under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on studies that show the drug puts users at risk for bladder cancer.

Japan’s biggest pharmaceutical company is actively looking at acquisitions or joint ventures in India and to invest $300 million in China over the next three years. Takeda says investments will fund research and development efforts, as well as add 650 people to its 250-member sales force in China.

The goal is to push sales of its troubled Actos pill throughout China, a country that boasts the largest number of diabetes sufferers in the world. Takeda says it anticipates sales in China to reach as high as $1 billion in four to five years.

While Takeda is hoping to expand sales of Actos in China, the United States and some European countries have taken measures aimed at limited sales of the drug. United States and European drug authorities have issued warnings of bladder cancer associated with use of Actos, and officials in Germany and France have banned the drug.

Actos is one of Takeda’s top-selling drugs, with global sales of $4.8 billion in the past year.

Source: Bloomberg