The first of more than 3,000 cases filed against Takeda Pharmaceuticals over it’s once popular diabetes drug, Actos, is now underway. A witness recently testified that the pharmaceutical giant put sales ahead of consumer safety and allowed marketing concerns to trump patient health worries.
The witness, Howard Greenberg, was a clinical pharmacologist who had experience in the industry and based his testimony off emails sent between Takeda executives. The emails discussed the company’s possible response to a warning by regulators across Europe and the U.S. that warning labels might be applied to Actos that described the possible risks associated with the development of bladder cancer.
The executives who were discussing the matter did not appear terribly concerned about the potential health consequences of their drug, instead, worrying only about protecting the earning potential of the medication. The emails offered fairly clear evidence that the company only cared about protecting profits, not protecting the welfare of patients.
One especially troublesome email was from a Takeda exec who discussed the fear that regulators in the U.S. would insist on a more clear warning label on Actos. Rather than agree that regulators had a valid concern, especially given the company’s own studies that have shown a link between Actos and bladder cancer as well as heart trouble, the executive directed the conversation back to the bottom line. The email said that Actos is the most important product to the company and therefore the issue should be managed carefully to ensure as little damage as possible is done to the brand.
The plaintiff in the case, Jack Cooper, took Actos for nearly four years before being diagnosed with bladder cancer. His case is only going to trial now because a judge realized that his gravely ill condition necessitated his claim be expedited so that he will be alive by the trial’s conclusion.
His attorneys have discussed how healthy Cooper was prior to the diagnosis and how much of a toll it has taken on his life, no more deep-sea diving trips with his family and no more exercise for the once healthy man. Takeda is claiming that other factors were responsible for his poor health and bladder cancer, including his age and his smoking.
If you would like to speak with a Mississippi medical malpractice attorney about a potential medical malpractice claim, call Mississippi medical malpractice lawyers / Ridgeland Pharmaceutical and Prescription Drug attorneys at Kobs & Philley, PLLC today at (601) 856-7800.
Source: “Takeda Put Actos Sales Ahead of User Safety, Witness Says,” by Jef Feeley, published at Bloomberg.com.