With an increasing number of independent studies pointing to the type 2 diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone) as a cause of bladder cancer, scores of injured patients have turned to the court system for financial assistance to manage their disease and life.
Already thousands of injured patients have joined a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Louisiana or mass torts in Illinois and California. While the cases are moving along, the drug continues to be freely sold on the market, putting even more unsuspecting patients in jeopardy. Experts say that Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the inventor and manufacturer of the drug, could face up to 10,000 lawsuits in the United States alone because of the risks.
Early on, Takeda had evidence pointing to Actos as a risk factor in bladder cancer. Instead of pulling the drug, the company continued to aggressively market it while conducting further tests on the cancer risk. During that time, the drug’s popularity skyrocketed; quickly, Actos was the top prescribed drug worldwide for type 2 diabetes control.
It wasn’t until 2006 that the initial results of Takeda’s ongoing 10-year study showed a definitive bladder-cancer risk. Those taking the drug for longer than a year have a 40 percent increased risk of bladder cancer. While drug regulators in France and Germany immediately pulled the medication from the shelves, U.S. drug regulators changed the drug’s label to include a bladder-cancer warning.
In addition to bladder cancer, the medication is known to cause congestive heart failure in patients both with and without pre-existing heart conditions. It’s also linked to random broken bones and severe liver problems.
Actos Class Action Lawsuit
Even though there are no Actos class-action lawsuits, the large Actos MDL and mass torts allow injured patients to seek financial remedies. Both MDLs and mass torts are considered better than class actions in this case because they allow injured patients to recoup better settlement amounts. In MDLs and mass torts, victims join together for the purposes of some legal proceedings, including discovery, but have their cases heard separately. Victims have their cases tried individually and can reap individual settlement awards.
Currently, more than 1,000 lawsuits have been filed in the federal MDL and state mass torts. In the federal case, the judge set dates for the first bellwether, or test, trials to begin in November 2014.
Finding an Actos Lawyer
For those who have been injured by the drug or who have family members who were injured, it’s important to find an astute attorney who will represent individual needs. The Actos litigation involves complex medical information that should be handled by an expert attorney who has a strong grasp on the law and on the science of medicine. It is important to find an attorney who has a reputation as a legal bulldog, yet can kindly guide injured patients to the correct litigation path. And it’s key to find someone who will guide injured patients and their families through this legal maze, yet allow them to ask as many questions as they need.
Although Actos litigation is in the beginning stages, it’s not too soon to be thinking about settlements. In a large-scale personal-injury litigations, such as this one, injured patients have received sizeable financial sums in lieu of trials. This allows the injured patients to get the monetary compensation necessary for advanced medical treatments and household expenses. It is important that injured patients secure their spot in any Actos litigation as soon as possible. This will allow for greater settlements based on the extent of injuries.