News Feature | April 9, 2014

Takeda And Lilly Hit With $9 Billion Penalty Over ACTOS Trial

By Estel Grace Masangkay

Takeda and Eli Lilly announced that a U.S. jury found its ACTOS case in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded $9 billion in punitive damages from the companies. The jury also ordered Takeda and Lilly to pay roughly $1. 5 million in compensatory damages to the plaintiff.

The case Terrence Allen, et al. v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc., et al, No. 6:12-cv-00064 was heard in United States District Court, Western District Louisiana, before Judge Rebecca Doherty. The lawsuit centered on whether diabetes drug Actos caused bladder cancer in a patient and other cancer cases by implication. Takeda developed Actos while its partner Lilly helped market the drug between 1999 and 2006. The companies are facing several other lawsuits over Actos alleging side effects warning failure and hiding of health risks. Liability allocation was 75 percent for Takeda and 25 percent for Eli Lilly.

Kenneth D. Greisman, SVP and general counsel of Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc., said, “Takeda respectfully disagrees with the verdict and we intend to vigorously challenge this outcome through all available legal means, including possible post-trial motions and an appeal. We have empathy for the Allens, but we believe the evidence did not support a finding that Actos caused his bladder cancer. We also believe we demonstrated that Takeda acted responsibly with regard to Actos.”

Mike Harrington, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Eli Lilly, said, “While we have empathy for the plaintiff, we believe the evidence did not support his claims. Lilly disagrees with the verdict and we intend to vigorously challenge this outcome through all available legal means.” The company said Takeda will repay Lilly for U.S. litigation losses and expenses under an indemnification agreement.

ACTOS (pioglitazone) is a prescription drug used for glycemic control in conjunction with diet and exercise in adult patients with Type 2 diabetes. “Patient safety is a critical priority for Takeda. We are confident in the therapeutic benefits of ACTOS and its importance as a treatment for type 2 diabetes,” said Takeda SVP Greisman.

The companies said it will appeal the verdict, which sometimes leads to reduction of punitive damages.