Actos or pioglitazone is manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals and is a bestselling diabetic drug and approved for use in 1999. The drug earned the company in excess of $2 Billion in 2008 in the US alone. It is considered a more heart-friendly alternative to Avandia (rosiglitazone) manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline which has been plagued with civil lawsuits following an announcement that the drug increased the risk of cardiac problems by as much as 40%. However, Actos is still labeled as contraindicated for patients with a history of congestive heart failure, because it causes the body to retain fluid. Furthermore, there are also side effects of Actos that are raising concerns with health professionals, specifically with a disturbing increase in the development of bladder tumors.
A study in 2011 by the French National Health Insurance indicated that type II diabetes mellitus patients who had been taking Actos for a prolonged period were more likely to develop bladder cancer than with other similar medications. As a result, the drug was pulled out of circulation in France, followed closely by Germany. According to the National Injury Law Center website, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning that use of Actos and any medication containing pioglitazone for more than a year was linked to a heightened risk of bladder cancer, and directed the manufacturers to label their products accordingly.
Despite indications in several studies, Takeda continues to deny the causality of Actos for bladder cancer. Nevertheless, civil lawsuits alleging that Takeda was fully aware of the risks the drug posed to patients but failed to warn prescribing physicians and their patients accordingly has numbered in excess of 1,300, which have now been consolidated into multidistrict litigation in Western District of Louisiana, which started pre-trial hearings in July 25, 2013.
If you or a family member has been taking Actos for more than a year and developed bladder cancer, you may have an actionable case against Takeda. Get in touch with a products liability lawyer conversant with Actos litigation to get an accurate assessment of your case.