On December 29, 2011 the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) entered an Order consolidating all pending federal Actos bladder cancer lawsuits.
Actos, generically known as pioglitazone, is a prescription medication manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals and used to treat Type 2 diabetes, often referred to as adult onset diabetes. The JPLM’s Order references the existence of over 100 related pending Actos cases in various federal districts. The Order transfers the actions to the Western District of Louisiana before the Honorable Rebecca F Doherty, who was nominated to the court in 1991 by President George H. Bush.
The JPML noted that the litigation did not have strong connections to any particular district and determined that “centralization in the Western District of Louisiana permits the Panel to assign the litigation to an experienced Judge who sits in a district in which no other multidistrict litigation is pending.” Consolidation into multidistrict litigation eliminates duplicative discovery, inconsistent rulings and promotes efficiency and conserves the resources of the parties. The Actos lawsuits allege that individuals taking Actos face an increased risk of bladder cancer and that the Defendants, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, concealed their knowledge of this risk and failed to provide adequate warnings.
As early as September 17, 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an Actos safety review based upon data from an ongoing ten year study which associated a potential increased risk of bladder cancer based upon the length of exposure to Actos.
On June 15, 2011 the FDA issued a safety announcement informing the public that use of Actos for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer and mandating that information concerning this risk be added to the Actos label. The FDA cited data that revealed diabetes patients who took Actos longer than 1 year had a 40% increased risk of developing bladder cancer compared to those patients never treated with Actos. The FDA referenced a study from France which also revealed an increased risk of bladder cancer and which led the French government to suspend the use of Actos. The FDA noted that from January 2010 through October 2010, approximately 2.3 million patients filled a prescription for a pioglitazone containing product.