A West Virginia man is the latest person to file a lawsuit against Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Company over injuries he alleges were caused by taking the diabetes drug Actos for years.
According to the Consumer Justice Foundation, the plaintiff, Donald Shingleton, began taking Actos in 2005 to treat his type 2 diabetes. After years of controlling his body’s insulin levels with Actos, however, Mr. Shingleton developed bladder cancer. He now seeks damages for his injuries and the emotional distress he says he has endured as a result of taking the drug.
Mr. Shingleton filed his lawsuit April 25 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, where Judge Rebecca Doherty is presiding over about 150 Actos lawsuits consolidated under multidistrict litigation (MDL). The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict litigation formed the Actos MDL on December 29, 2011. MDLs are generally formed for complex cases that share common facts filed in several U.S. District Courts.
A growing number of former Actos patients blame the drug as the source of their bladder cancer and other injuries. Many plaintiffs suing Takeda allege the drugmaker knew that clinical testing of Actos in both animals and humans indicated a heightened bladder cancer risk. But instead of warning the public about these risks or withdrawing the drug, plaintiffs allege Takeda continued to make and market the drug, even going so far as concealing the risk.
Actos became a top-selling treatment for type 2 diabetes shortly after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it in 1999. Last year, however, the agency issued a warning that studies had linked the medication to an elevated risk of bladder cancer, particularly when it was used long term. Germany and France banned Actos sales following the studies, but the U.S. drug regulators chose to keep Actos on the market but place stronger warnings on the drug’s labels.
The first lawsuit against Takeda was filed in July 2011. Many plaintiffs’ attorneys and legal analysts expect the number of claims against Takeda and affiliated companies to climb into the thousands.