Judge Says Takeda Destroyed Evidence in Actos LawsuitsJuly 2, 2014 — A ruling issued by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty has determined that Takeda Pharmaceuticals intentionally destroyed or deleted documents that were critical to 3,000 lawsuits involving Actos (pioglitazone), a diabetes drug that was linked to bladder cancer.

In the June 30 order, Judge Doherty found that plaintiffs provided sufficient evidence to establish that Takeda acted in bad faith in its destruction of documents. Takeda has been ordered to continue working to reconstruct all deleted files, which might contain critical evidence in bladder cancer lawsuits against Takeda.

According to Judge Doherty:

“Takeda deleted that information; the information deleted is relevant to Plaintiffs’ claims in the multidistrict litigation; the absence of that information is prejudicial to Plaintiffs in the MDL; Takeda intentionally deleted the information; and that Takeda did so with bad faith.”

In April 2014, a jury in Louisiana ordered Takeda and its American partner, Eli Lilly & Co., to pay $9 billion in punitive damages to Terrence Allen, a man who developed bladder cancer after taking Actos. The jury found that Takeda was aware of evidence linking Actos and bladder cancer in the early 2000s, but withheld that information from patients and doctors.

In general, companies have “document retention” policies that allow old documents to be destroyed. However, when issues arise that the company could reasonably expect to end up in litigation, the law obligates companies to keep and maintain all documents and evidence related to the issue.

Lawyers allege that Takeda was legally obligated to keep documents produced after July 2002. Instead, computer hard drives were erased on 46 employees and top executives at Takeda who were involved in development, marketing, and sales of Actos. It is unknown whether these documents would have helped plaintiffs. However, the fact that Takeda destroyed documents they knew they were supposed to retain suggests the documents might have been detrimental to Takeda.

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