Judge Substantially Reduces Damages Against Takeda and Lilly in Actos Case

A US judge has reduced the punitive damages against Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and Eli Lilly Company in a product safety case concerning Takeda’s diabetes drug, Actos (pioglitazone) from $6 billion to $27.6 million for Takeda and from $3 billion to $9.2 million for Lilly. The damages are part of litigation, Terrence Allen et al. v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc, et al., in which a jury in a federal district court in Louisiana found in favor of the plaintiffs’ claims that Actos contributed to a patient’s bladder cancer. 

That decision, made in April 2014, had awarded punitive damages to the plaintiffs in the amount of $6 billion against Takeda and $3 billion against Lilly. The jury also awarded the plaintiffs $1.475 million in compensatory damages. Compensatory damages were later reduced from $1.475 million to $1.27 million. With respect to the compensatory damages, the allocation of liability is 75% Takeda and 25% Lilly. Eli Lilly copromoted Actos with Takeda from 1999 to 2006.  

“We view the substantially reduced punitive damage award as a step in the right direction, but we believe a damage award of any amount is not justified based on the evidence presented in this trial and we will appeal,” said Kenneth D. Greisman, senior vice president and general counsel, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc, in a company statement. “Patient safety is a critical priority for Takeda. There is no credible scientific evidence that establishes a causal link between Actos and this disease.”

“While we have empathy for the plaintiff, we believe the evidence did not support his claims,” said Mike Harrington, senior vice president and general counsel, Lilly, in a company statement.  “We will continue working vigorously to overturn the verdict.”

Takeda has prevailed in five of the first six Actos cases tried in state courts thus far. The Allen case is the only case to reach trial in the multidistrict litigation pending in the federal courts and the only case to result in a punitive damage award.

Source: Takeda and Eli Lily

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