May 16, 2014 — A jury in Chicago decided that Takeda Pharmaceuticals was not responsible for the death of William Whitlatch, a man who developed bladder cancer after using Actos (pioglitazone).
The bellwether trial, Whitlatch v. Takeda, is the fifth case to go before a jury. Takeda has won three cases, is appealing one, and lost one last month for a stunning $9 billion in punitive damages. Another trial is currently underway in Las Vegas with two plaintiffs seeking $1 billion in damages.
Although a major factor in the $9 billion award was Takeda’s destruction of vital documents, recent Supreme Court decisions capping punitive damages will likely reverse most of the award — perhaps to as little as 10-times the $1.5 million in compensation the plaintiff was awarded.
Bloomberg reports that the 12-member jury deliberated for less than two hours, ending a trial that lasted over four weeks.
The plaintiff, Diane Whitlatch, filed the lawsuit on behalf of her husband, William Whitlatch, who died in 2006 at the age of 57 after using Actos to control type-2 diabetes. Lawyers accused Takeda of concealing risk information linking Actos to an increased risk of bladder cancer. However, Takeda argued that Whitlatch was a diabetic and a former smoker, both risk-factors for bladder cancer.
Takeda did not add warnings about the risk of bladder cancer until five years after Whitlatch died. In 2011, the FDA warned about studies linking Actos to a 40% increased risk of bladder cancer for patients who took Actos at high doses for a long time.
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