A Louisiana federal judge refused to throw out a $9 billion judgment against Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly & Co., alleging the companies hid bladder cancer risks with its blockbuster type 2 diabetes drug Actos.
The April verdict was in favor of plaintiffs Terrence and Susan Allen, who claimed the drug companies withheld from doctors and patients information about bladder cancer risks associated with Actos. It was the first U.S. trial of its kind, setting the stage for thousands of other similar lawsuits against Takeda and Eli Lilly involving Actos and bladder cancer.
Japan-based Takeda was ordered to pay $6 billion while U.S. drug maker Eli Lilly was ordered to pay $3 billion. Under an agreement between the two companies, Takeda may end up shouldering Lilly’s judgment. However, Takeda may dispute the terms of that agreement.The jury also awarded an additional $1.5 million in compensatory damages to the Allens.
The award is believed to be the seventh largest punitive damages award in U.S. history.
Actos was a one-time blockbuster diabetes treatment with peak revenues of $4.5 billion for the year ended March 2011, which was the same year that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety warning that the drug had been linked to bladder cancer. Since 1999, Actos has generated more than $16 billion in sales.
Attorneys for Takeda say that the company believes it acted responsibly and it plans to challenge the verdict through all available legal channels.