The European Medicines Agency has recently announced that, despite a serious risk for causing bladder cancer, the prescription medication Actos – or Glustin as it is known in some European countries – should still be prescribed by physicians as a second or third line treatment option for patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes. The EMA – as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – contended as recently as July 2011 that Actos createded a greater risk of bladder cancer to patients using the drugs than those not using them.
Actos, known as pioglitazone in its generic form, is manufactured and marketed by Takeda Phramaceuticals and has been one of the company’s top-selling drugs over the past decade. The FDA confirmed after a 10-year study of the medication that it does indeed increase the risk of patients developing bladder cancer; however, neither the FDA nor the EMA have issued recalls in response to this danger.
The FDA has recommended that physicians should regularly monitor patients who have been prescribed and use Actos to determine if signs of bladder cancer or similar ailments are present. The risk of developing the deadly disease is predominant among new users of the drug, with symptoms and risk increasing after at least a year of using Actos. In addition to the threat of bladder cancer, Actos users can also experience a variety of other side effects, ranging from mild to severe, as is the case with all prescription medications.
First used and marketed for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes in 1999, Actos has been a flagship medication for Takeda. In 2008, it was reported that the company earned more than $2.5 billion from sales of the drug, and in 2010 the profits were approximately $4 billion. Despite the revelations of both the EMA and FDA studies, and with warnings issued by the latter agency, Takeda continues to market and profit from Actos.
In August, a pair of plaintiffs currently suing Takeda due to their development of bladder cancer while using Actos filed a motion to have all lawsuits against Takeda consolidated into one multidistrict litigation. However, the attorneys for the plaintiffs and those representing Takeda disagreed on which court should manage the litigation. Regardless, the two initial plaintiffs have already been joined by more than 50 other victims, and it is unknown how many more lawsuits could be filed.
If you or a loved one has suffered from severe side effects, including symptoms of bladder cancer, as a result of using Actos, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with prescription medication use. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.