In July 1999, the Food & Drug Administration approved a drug named Actos to help treat type 2 diabetes. Actos works by increasing the sensitivity of the patient to insulin. It was the best selling diabetes drug in the world for years, making over $4 billion in sales for manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceuticals in 2010 alone. The popularity of Actos came largely in part to the linking of a similar drug, Avandia, to an increased risk of heart attacks.
Now, Actos is under fire as well, after the FDA discovered that one of the potential Actos side effects is an increased chance of bladder cancer. In June 2011, the FDA made Takeda alter the information on the label of Actos to include information about the dangers of bladder cancer associated with the drug. This decision was based on findings from the first 24 months of a ten year study by the FDA in collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceuticals. In this study, it was demonstrated that an increased risk of bladder cancer was present after only 2 years of taking Actos.
The dangers were so prevalent that some European countries, including Germany and France, implemented an Actos recall after similar results were found by studies done in those countries. In the United States, the Associated Press has reported that lawyers are processing over 40 new requests a week for legal advice in cases involving Actos. They expect the numbers to continue to grow as word spreads of the dangers of Actos.
While Takeda Pharmaceuticals continues to profit from the sales of Actos, stories across the Internet abound regarding the harmful, potentially deadly side effects of this drug. Some patients currently taking Actos have expressed their frustration at the lack of warning given to them by doctors and pharmacists regarding the risks of this drug. Others share stories of loved ones who died from kidney failure or bladder cancer. Some of these survivors are just now learning that a medicine meant to safeguard their loved ones health actually led to their deaths.
Naturally, these patients and family members feel angry and betrayed by the situation in which they find themselves. They are looking for a way to express these emotions and find a sense of justice for what they have been made to go through. Many are contacting medical lawyers to discuss the legal options available to them and filing suit against Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Many lawyers report that they are currently representing hundreds of plaintiffs in cases such as these, and they expect the number of cases against Takeda to reach the tens of thousands once the initial suits begin to be heard by courts.
The number of cases is expected to be so high that the U.S. Federal Courts are currently working to determine if the cases should be consolidated into a single case in order to ensure that all of the evidence is heard, as well as to avoid tying up courts with the sheer volume of cases.