The first-ever Actos bladder cancer risk trial in the nation took two months to complete and ended with a jury awarding the plaintiff $6.5 million in damages.
It took the blink of an eye for the presiding judge to reject the jury’s decision.
In a post-trial ruling in Los Angeles, the California state judge threw out the award, saying a key expert witness’s diagnosis of the patient had been based on “speculation, conjecture and leaps of logic.”
Takeda Pharmaceutical, the manufacturer of the controversial diabetes drug, had asked the judge several times to throw out the expert’s testimony. Attorneys for the company claimed that other factors, such as smoking and age, contributed more to the plaintiff’s bladder cancer and not the use of Actos. They also stated there has been no solid proof that Actos even causes cancer, despite an FDA-mandated warning that the drug may raise the risk of contracting bladder cancer after a year of use.
The judge apparently agreed with Takeda’s contentions, saying that the studies the expert witness had relied upon were “unreliable” and did not prove that Actos was the causation of the plaintiff’s bladder cancer. He ruled that the testimony was therefore inadmissible.
The jury did find that Takeda had failed to adequately warn about the drug’s bladder cancer risk. However, with the expert testimony thrown out, the jury’s finding that Actos specifically caused the plaintiff’s cancer was nullified.
The plaintiff’s attorneys will most likely appeal the judge’s ruling. If the ruling is reversed on appeal, the award will be reinstated.
There are currently thousands of similar Actos lawsuits pending in state and federal courts across the nation. They contend that Takeda had failed to adequately warn about Actos’ cancer risks.
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