May 21, 2015

Takeda Pharmaceuticals will pay approximately $2.4 billion to settle Actos lawsuits.   Actos and some associated drugs (ActoPlus Met XR, Duetact, or ActoPlus Met) are Type II diabetes medications manufactured by Japan-based Takeda and its American business partner Eli Lilly and Company.

In 2011, a FDA study, of more than 190,000 diabetes patients, discovered that taking Actos for more than 12 months increased one’s risk for bladder cancer by 40%.  Until Takeda ceased manufacturing of Actos in 2012, the drug had made the company over $16 billion and comprised nearly 20% of its annual revenue.

Now, more than 8,000 product liability lawsuits in the U.S. claim that Takeda Pharmaceutical and Eli Lilly withheld information about Actos and the bladder cancer side effects.  Many of the lawsuits allege that Takeda became aware of the links to bladder cancer as early as 2004, but hid this information from U.S. regulators for seven years.

Several Actos trials have resulted in multimillion-dollar jury verdicts. The most notable of these decisions came in April 2014, when a jury in Louisiana federal court awarded $9 billion in damages against Takeda and Eli Lilly.  The judgment was later reduced under a proportionality analysis to $36.8 million. See Allen v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc., 12-cv-00064, U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana (Lafayette).

On April 28, 2015, one of the largest drug side effect settlements in U.S. history was reached between plaintiff attorneys and defendant Takeda Pharmaceutical.  The settlement, which totaled $2.4 billion, will go into effect if 95% of the Actos plaintiffs agree to the deal.  Takeda is expected to perform the settlement even if plaintiff participation is slightly below the 95% threshold. Takeda is expected to take a charge of $2.7 billion from their 2014 fourth quarter earnings to cover the cost of the Actos settlement.

The average amount of damages paid out to each individual plaintiff would be nearly $300,000 per case.  Various health factors such as a plaintiff’s age and exposure to smoking may decrease the amount of damages they are able to receive.