Lawsuits Pile up Against Makers of Actos

Lawsuits Pile up Against Makers of ActosHundreds of lawsuits have been filed against the maker of the world’s top-selling diabetes drug, with sales for the pharmaceutical giant likely to drop as more studies arise linking the use of Actos for more than one year to bladder cancer, The Associated Press reports.

According to the news source, Takeda Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. ceased selling Actos in Germany and France in June after receiving heavy pressure to do so from drug regulators in both countries. Since being pulled from the shelves there, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency have expressed concern about the potential bladder cancer risks that have come about from new research, prompting doctors to discontinue prescribing the drug, which has remained on sale.

The warnings issued by the U.S. and EU could bring in an end to the medicine that reigned as the number one selling diabetes drug for nearly ten years. The medicine was promising at first, as it worked in controlling blood pressure and had minimal side effects. The medicine also boosted the efficacy of other drugs, allowing patients to delay or reduce the use of insulin injections.

Now, the billions of dollars Takeda made off Actos is likely to go to its competitors, the media outlet stated.

Lawyers predict that the hundreds of complaint filings that occurred in the past week could give way to thousands in a short time, all alleging that Actos caused bladder cancer that was, in some cases, fatal, in clients who regularly took the pill for years.

Nancy Rios, who took Actos daily for more than a decade, is one of many suing Takeda for her recurrent bladder cancer. She was diagnosed with bladder cancer in June of 2009, and recently recovered from her second surgery to remove the tumors. Now, she is faced with missing large amounts of work and paying her rising medical bills. She is currently awaiting the results of the surgery.

“I could lose my bladder and possibly need chemo,” she told the AP.

According to the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated that 70,530 people were diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2010.

Law firms across the country are evaluating cases by the dozen, with more than 20 advertising on the internet or in newspapers, the media outlet stated.