Timothy and Peggy Ann Plaugher thought that Actos would help Timothy with his type 2 diabetes; now they are suing Takeda Pharmaceuticals for Timothy’s bladder cancer. Actos (Pioglitazone) is a drug that, along with diet, exercise and other medications, can help treat type 2 diabetes; a condition in which the body does not use insulin, leading to an inability to control the amount of sugar in the blood.
On March 21, 2012, the law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman (a law firm providing legal assistance in Los Angeles, Washington DC and Philadelphia) filed a lawsuit against Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the Japanese based makers of Actos. The firm is alleging that Actos caused his bladder cancer in its client, Timothy Plaugher. In the words of the complaint filed by the law firm:
From 2006 through February 2012, Plaintiff took Actos manufactured and distributed by Defendants for treatment of Type 2 diabetes. As a result of the defective nature of Actos, persons who were prescribed and who subsequently ingested this product, including Plaintiff, have suffered and may continue to suffer from bladder cancer. Defendants concealed and continue to conceal their knowledge of Actos’ unreasonably dangerous risks from Plaintiff, his physicians, other consumers, and the medical community. Specifically, Defendants failed to adequately inform consumers and the prescribing medical community about the risk of bladder cancer associated with more than twelve months of Actos ingestion. As a result of Defendants’ actions and inactions, Plaintiff was injured due to his ingestion of Actos, which caused and will continue to cause Plaintiffs injuries and damages. Plaintiff accordingly seeks damages associated with these injuries.
Furthermore, the firm alleges that Takeda Pharmaceuticals; “As the manufacturers of Actos, Defendants knew or should have known that Actos use for longer than twelve months was associated with bladder cancer.” In addition attorney Cynthia Garber, herself a Registered Nurse, stated that: “Takeda failed to properly warn plaintiffs of the very real and dangerous link between the use of Actos and bladder cancer…The company had a responsibility to disclose this information to healthcare workers and patients. Instead of helping them, this prescription drug has led to disease and death. Takeda should be held accountable for their wrong-doing.”
The Plaugher family is seeking damages of an amount in excess of $75,000, economic losses, attorneys’ fees, reimbursement of costs of obtaining Actos, reimbursement for all past, present, and future health and medical care costs related to Actos. There have been several such federal Actos related lawsuits, and so these cases have been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in Lafayette.
The Food and Drug Administration has not suspended Actos in the United States. Nonetheless, on June 15, 2011 the FDA issued a Public Safety Announcement using Actos for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. It is also important to note that the case is in a very early stage, that Takeda has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing; this case is yet to be decided in a court of law.