Actos Victims to be Part of Global Settlement

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is attempting to settle nearly 8,000 Actos lawsuits across the United States by agreeing to pay $2.3 billion. The settlement has been called a good deal for the drug company which will avoid the threat of further litigation and potentially punitive damages awarded to litigants who claim Actos use is linked to the development and spread of cancer. If 95% of the claimants in Actos lawsuits accept the deal, it will be finalized and Takeda will make the payment.

Each plaintiff could receive close to $300,000 to accept the settlement, but that number could change for individuals who have a history of smoking or engaging in other behavior that contributes to the cause of cancer. If accepted, Takeda’s $2.3 billion Actos settlement would be one of the larger agreements by drug manufacturers to resolve litigation.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is attempting to settle nearly 8,000 Actos lawsuits across the United States by agreeing to pay $2.3 billion. The settlement has been called a good deal for the drug company which will avoid the threat of further litigation and potentially punitive damages awarded to litigants who claim Actos use is linked to the development and spread of cancer. If 95% of the claimants in Actos lawsuits accept the deal, it will be finalized and Takeda will make the payment.

Each plaintiff could receive close to $300,000 to accept the settlement, but that number could change for individuals who have a history of smoking or engaging in other behavior that contributes to the cause of cancer. If accepted, Takeda’s $2.3 billion Actos settlement would be one of the larger agreements by drug manufacturers to resolve litigation.

Takeda has been challenged for manufacturing and promoting Actos as a type 2 diabetes treatment without providing physicians with information about risks associated with taking the drug. According to lawsuits against the Japanese-based pharmaceutical company, Actos users have alleged the company failed to warn the public that taking Actos for a period longer than 12 months could led to high risk of bladder cancer. Further, lawsuits claim that the company failed to properly test Actos, and, as a result, manufactured and sold a defective product while misleading the public.

Last year, a federal jury in Louisiana ordered Takeda and Eli Lilly & Co., which partnered with Takeda to sell Actos in the US, to pay a combined $9 billion judgment to a plaintiff who claimed that Actos caused his bladder cancer. Although the award was later reduced to $36.8 million by the court, the Takeda legal and management team recognized the risk of additional lawsuits resulting in similarly significant damage awards and elected to offer a $2.3 billion settlement to close out the remaining lawsuits.

Lawsuits against Takeda involving Actos have resulted in 9 jury verdicts. Other than the significant award in Louisiana, the company has either successfully defended the allegations or had jury verdicts dismissed on appeal. Despite its success in other trials, Takeda was willing to limit its damage exposure by avoiding future damages awarded by juries across the country. The damage award could increase to $2.4 billion depending on additional injuries, but Takeda’s liability has been limited by the settlement offer.

In an interview with Bloomberg Business, University of Michigan professor of law and business Erik Gordon wrote that the deal was good for Takeda because it means that juries cannot find the company’s “mishandling of the drug is worthy of a large punitive damage award.” Gordon added, “Given the apparent strength of this case, the plaintiffs probably deserved more compensation than this deal offers.” While some lawyers representing the nearly 8,000 plaintiffs are likely to resist the settlement as too low, it seems likely that the majority will accept the agreement to close the litigation.

Takeda spokeswoman Sandy Rodriquez said of the settlement, “This settlement allows Takeda to reduce the uncertainties of complex litigation and focus on providing medicines for patients around the world.” The company has made more than $16 billion in Actos sales since 1999, but now faces stiff competition from a generic alternative and plans to restructure its pharmaceutical sales organization. Victims of Actos side effects who were part of the litigation against the company will not receive any settlement proceeds until after an agreement is signed by all parties.