Jury Verdict of $9 Billion in Punitive Damages in Actos® Verdict
A Louisiana jury has returned a verdict requiring Japanese drug manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceutical and its American partner Eli Lilly to pay $9 billion in punitive damages. The jury's verdict was based on the finding that Takeda intentionally hid the cancer risk associated with Actos®, a Type 2 diabetes drug manufactured by the pharmaceutical company. The jury verdict constitutes the seventh-largest punitive damage award in U.S. history according to Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia.
The defective drug lawsuit was filed by Terrance and Susan Allen in 2011 after Mr. Allen was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Mr. Allen had been taking the medication from 2006 until 2011 when he learned he had bladder cancer. The lawsuit alleged that Takeda knew of the link between bladder cancer and Actos®, but did not disclose the information. While Mr. Allen currently appears to be cancer free, he must cope with the risk that the disease could reoccur.
The FDA required Takeda to place a warning about the risk of bladder cancer on the labeling of Actos® in 2011. A study reported by the agency found that patients who took the diabetes drug for more than a year had a forty percent greater risk of bladder cancer than people who did not take the drug.
The jury's decision was based on its conclusion that Takeda became aware of the possible connection between the drug and bladder cancer in the early 2000s. Despite this knowledge, the jury determined that the company did not disclose this information to patients taking the medication or their physicians.
Actos® (also referred to as "pioglitazone") was once one of the top selling pharmaceutical products for Takeda. According to court documents, sales of the drug generated revenue of $16 billion in U.S. sales since it was made available in the U.S. in 1999.
The jury specifically assessed $6 billion in punitive damages against Takeda and $3 billion in damages against Eli Lilly. Eli Lilly partnered with Takeda and marketed the drug in the United States. Because the drug companies have an agreement under which Takeda has agreed to indemnity Eli Lilly, the U.S. company will not have to pay any portion of the verdict.
Takeda has indicated that it will appeal the verdict, which is likely to be significantly reduced on appeal. Because of existing Supreme Court precedent, indicating that punitive damages should not be more than ten times compensatory damages, the verdict could be reduced substantially. The compensatory damage award was $1.5 million, so the punitive damage award could be dramatically reduced to $15 million.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case
This verdict offers hope for the thousands of plaintiffs with current lawsuits related to negative side effects linked to Actos®. If you or a loved one developed bladder cancer after taking this Type 2 diabetes drug, Montlick and Associates is currently reviewing potential cases that involve adverse side effects caused by Actos.® Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.
Source: New York Times, Jury Awards $9 Billion in Damages in Drug Case, April 8, 2014