Upjohn Co. allegedly backed out of development of the type 2 diabetes drug Actos in 1993 because of safety concerns, according to court testimony. However, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the drug’s maker, urged Upjohn to say that it was backing away from the project because it didn’t believe the drug would be effective in the treatment of diabetes, an expert witness for the plaintiffs said.
Randall Tackett, a pharmacologist and toxicologist at the University of Georgia, testified on behalf of plaintiff Frances Wisniewski, who is suing Takeda over claims that the Japanese drug maker’s diabetes medication Actos caused her to develop bladder cancer, and that the drug company withheld information about the drug’s risks.
“What this basically does, in my opinion, is remove the concern for the margin of safety and focuses on the fact that they wanted Upjohn to say that the drug didn’t work as well as they would like. That’s a big difference from saying there was a concern over the margin of safety,” Tackett testified. “A prudent drug company should have the patients’ safety at the forefront. You shouldn’t have someone decreasing or minimizing the concern over safety.”
In April, Takeda and Eli Lilly were hit with a landmark $9 billion in punitive damages in part of a multidistrict litigation in Louisiana involving claims that Takeda withheld bladder cancer risks with Actos.