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Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., the Japanese drug company, is being sued by more Actos® users whose treatment for diabetes may cause bladder cancer, but marketing of Actos continues in the U.S. Weitz & Luxemberg attorney Paul J. Pennock noted his firm represents 1,200 former Actos users, and he expected the number of lawsuits could rise to 10,000 due to the effects of Actos on people whose diabetes has been treated with the drug. In June 2011, Germany joined France in suspending the top-selling Takeda drug, Actos in their markets, whose sales topped $4.8 billion so far this fiscal year, due to the threat of bladder cancer occurring in its users.

Pioglitazone hydrochloride, also known as Actos, was developed by Takeda primarily to help treat Type 2 diabetes mellitus, and was distributed and marketed since 1999 in the U.S. by Eli Lilly & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline. Actos oral tablets were marketed as a medication which would help the body use insulin more efficiently. Accompanying the drug is a host of contraindications about the use of pioglitazone and long lists of possible negative side-effects and other medications with which pioglitazone may interact. Users are cautioned to have regular blood tests to monitor any possible damage to their liver.

According to a December 1, 2011, article by the Associated Press in The Indianapolis Star, Eli Lilly, one of Actos’ distributors’, lobbying costs in the third quarter of 2010 approached $2.3 million “focusing on patent reform, trade issues and hospital discounts.” A brief notation in an article by Melly Alazraki in The Daily Finance, February 27, 2011, says Actos is one of the blockbuster drugs that will lose its patent in 2012. According to Alazraki, “Once drugs lose patent protection, lower-price generics quickly siphon off as much as 90% of their sales.” According to that article, Actos’ (first three quarters) 2010 U.S. sales are shown as approximately $3.35 billion. So the manufacturer and distributors should expect hefty losses when the drug goes generic.

So notwithstanding Takeda’s patent for Actos actually expiring last January 2011, Takeda (and possibly Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline) may have their hands full financially battling the forthcoming tide of Actos lawsuits. No matter that Takeda has already agreed with several generic drug marketers, Ranbaxy, Watson and Mylan on the future marketing of a generic form of Actos.


  1. Gravatar for Daniel Haszard

    Actos is produced by Takeda Industries and co-marketed by Eli Lilly.

    Eli Lilly Zyprexa can *cause* diabetes.

    I took Zyprexa a powerful Lilly schizophrenic drug for 4 years it was prescribed to me off-label for post traumatic stress disorder was ineffective costly and gave me diabetes.

    Eli Lilly's #1 cash cow Zyprexa drug sale $40 billion dollars so far,has a ten times greater risk of causing type 2 diabetes over the non-user of Zyprexa. So,here we have a conflict of interest that this same company Eli Lilly also is a big profiteer of diabetes treatment.

    (Actos works as an insulin *sensitizer*)

    Sooooo,Eli Lilly pushes a drug (Zyprexa) that can cause diabetes.... then turn around sell you the drugs (Actos) to treat the diabetes that in turn can cause cancer!

    What a terrible conflict of interest!

    -- Daniel Haszard

  2. Gravatar for Dr. Jim Balserak
    Dr. Jim Balserak

    Well, let me say this to the legal experts regarding this, and the innumerable commercials regarding bad drugs...

    Let us just simply agree to stop the development of all new drugs whatsover? Obviously the industry is bad and corrupt and has only financial intersts at stake...not the treatment and cure of disease.

    Ever single drug we take voluntarily into our system has potential side effects, including aspirin, tylenol and benadryl and even oxygen. So to hell with patients and illness, let Darwin figure it out.

    Does anyone really think that the major pharmaceuticals develop new drugs to harm people? What about the 99.5 plus % of users who do very well with those drugs?

    We certainly cannot blame our overweight, tobacco and alcohol-using society for the onset of their diabetes, lung disease, or other illnesses now could we? We are an entiltled society that believes the imperfect human system is not at fault, but rather, the medical and pharm communities.

    You should be ashamed for chasing this ambulance.

    Do you know that if we exercised, had an appropriate weight for our age, ceased the sale of tobacco and alcohol in the U.S. and made compliance mandatory, that we would eliminate 80% of our health care issues almost immediately, at a savings of trillions of dollars to the health care system.

    Let's focus on that. Until then, all the opposers from now on, please don't take any form of drug whatsover, as you obviously do not trust the manufacturers or the industry...they are only there to cause you harm.

  3. Gravatar for Greg Webb

    Dr. Balserak,

    Thank you for reading this blog. And, believe it or not, I actually agree with much of what you say. Cigarettes, alcohol abuse, and/or obesity are scourges, and the cause of many, if not most, health problems - directly or indirectly - in our society. And people often bring these problems upon themselves, in that no one forces them to overeat, smoke, or drink to excess. Additionally, the advent of helpful pharmaceuticals have helped the prevention and treatment of many illnesses and diseases; our system is generally a good one, but not necessarily efficient; nor is it devoid of flaws.

    Nevertheless, a point I would like to make is that before one takes a pharmaceutical drug, one should be made aware (via intelligible warnings) of all known (to the manufacturer) potential or possible side-effects, particularly those that could be worse than the "cure" (or sought-after benefit), so that a fully informed risk-benefit analysis may be considered. When a company has such knowledge, and does not adequately warn the end-users, for whatever reason - whether profit driven and/or bad judgment - it is wrong. And, if individual citizens should be "responsible" for their actions ("personal responsibility" - as you allude to), then corporations should likewise be "responsible", especially when the corporation has superior knowledge and expertise. That's all, and it is not unreasonable to desire such.

    Corporations should not be immune for their conduct any more than John or Jane Q. Public.

    Lastly, I want to be clear that I am not chasing the proverbial "ambulance", as I do not even handle Actos cases - I have never even looked at one. I merely wanted folks to know about this potential health issue, and this forum reaches people interested in safety issues.

    Again, thank you for commenting, because it further enlightens me about how different views can co-exist. There are many people who feel the same as you about these issues, until they themselves (or a loved one) are impacted. Then they want "justice", because their situation is "different" than all those "other people". Everytime I speak to such a person, I find it ironic that they believe all lawsuits are bad (or "frivolous"), until it is their own misfortune at issue. Then they call a lawyer, which they should, and which is a constitutional right - see, e.g., the Seventh Amendment. Perhaps you should read the Constitution, in its entirety, again, and be thankful for ALL of your rights and privileges of being an American, and work to ensure those rights are not degraded by those persons and entities with the most money and power, which is certainly not what our Founding Fathers envisioned.

    Merry Christmas.

    Greg Webb

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