Boston, MA 04/16/2013 (wallstreetpr) – The largest drugmaker in Asia, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TYO:4502) (Closed: 5090 JPY, Down by 0.20%), hid risks of Actos, the cancer drug in a bid to protect the millions that it makes in sales. The first of the over 3,000 lawsuits has just gone to trial. Even as early as 2004, the internal studies by Takeda that had been conducted for the diabetes medication had revealed bladder cancer risks. A lawyer, Michael Miller represents a plaintiff Jack Cooper in his case against Takeda.
Profits given priority
In Los Angeles, he told a state court jury that the company alerted the Food Drug Administration authorities about its findings only seven years later. He said that the company wanted their $1.6 billion worth of annual sales to be unaffected. In closing arguments, Miller said that selling diabetes drugs in the United States is big business and it is a very lucrative one. Despite this it is unacceptable and nor permissible for companies to downplay the risks and patient safety has to be given precedence over profitability. Actos sales had peaked at $4.5 billion in the year ending 2011 and the drug had lost its patent protection last year. At that time this had accounted for 27 percent of the company’s revenue.
In January, the company had won the approval of regulators to replace Actos with a new diabetes drug names Nesina. According to the courts records, Takeda is facing over 3,000 lawsuits that allege that Actos caused cancer of the bladder as well as other ailments amongst patients. The plaintiff Cooper who worked as a cable splicer with Pacific Bell Telephone Co. had been taking Actos for over two years and had been diagnosed with cancer of the bladder in November 2011. According to Freeman, Cooper is now gravely ill and the case had been put forward on an expedited basis particularly due to his condition. Takeda says the drug is safe and effective and there is no evidence of it being the cause of bladder cancer.
The company lawyers, in their opening statements told the jurors that Cooper’s bladder cancer condition must be attributed to factors other than the consumption of Actos. As per the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, after prostate, lung caner and colon cancer, this is the fourth most common cancer.