Earlier this year, the public was alerted that the diabetes medication, Actos, causes bladder cancer. It did not take long for the FDA and the public to discover that the manufacturer of Actos tragically failed to adequately warn and properly study the risk of bladder cancer. Takeda, the manufacturer of Actos, deprived physicians of the ability to weigh the benefit of treating a patient with Actos for diabetes, against the risk of developing bladder cancer, which is an insidious disease that is often fatal. Physicians relied on inadequate, misleading information about the drug, and therefore could not make learned decisions when prescribing it.
It is clear that Takeda placed profits over patient safety. Takeda’s negligent failure to adequately warn about the risk of bladder cancer, and reckless disregard for human safety is now the subject of lawsuits filed in state courts and federal courts around the country by patients who suffered bladder cancer while taking Actos. The Levensten Law Firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania represents a significant number of these patients, and is dedicating much of firm’s resources and personnel to fighting for Actos victims for years to come.
When a public health crisis like the Actos bladder cancer tragedy occurs, lawsuits are often filed in state and federal courts around the country by the victims. For the first few years, the state cases are typically group in front of one state court judge, and the federal cases in front of one federal court judge. While the cases are grouped together, teams of attorneys for the victims review all of the manufactures studies, internal communications, and communications with the FDA and scientific community, among other documents. It is in these documents, particularly the unpublished studies, inter-company email, and adverse event reports, where we usually learn how dangerous a drug really is. We also learn about how the manufacturers suppress the true information, or fail to pursue the truth, in an effort to build a multi-billion dollar market for blockbuster drugs.
The teams of attorneys for Actos victims also take depositions of the company’s employees to probe further about the manufacturer’s knowledge and its bad acts, and to make a record of the employees’ testimony for trial. Finally, the lawyers for the victims submit expert reports which establish the association between the side effect and the drug, the regulatory failings of the company, the improper, deceptive marketing by the pharmaceutical manufacturer, and other key issues. At the end of the document review, depositions, exchange of expert reports, and expert depositions, the cases are typically set for individual trials if an individual or group settlement is not reached. Scott Levensten of the Levensten Law Firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has participated in the document review, depositions, expert discovery and trial of many high profile pharmaceutical cases over the last fifteen years.
When the federal cases are grouped together, it is called an MDL, which stands for Multidistrict litigation. A group of judges, called the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, decides whether the cases should be grouped together after a formal request is made by either the lawyers representing the victims, the lawyers representing the pharmaceutical companies, or both. Pursuant to an order of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, a hearing is scheduled on December 1, 2011 at the Tomochichi United States Courthouse, in Savannah Georgia, for consolidation of all federal Actos lawsuits in the United States District Court for Southern District of Illinois, or in the alternative, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
We believe that the consolidation of these cases through the multidistrict litigation process will lead to settlements for Actos victims nationwide through the cooperative efforts of battle tested, dedicated plaintiffs lawyers who will be handling these cases. The most important thing however, is that we prevent the manufacturer from causing the litigation to drag on, through multiple delay tactics typically employed by pharmaceutical manufacturer defendants. The sad, shocking fact in many cases like Actos is that the defendants try to delay the resolution of the cases until many of the victims have passed away, in a shameless attempt to devalue the victims’ claim. In short, the pharmaceutical manufacturers often believe that a jury would award less if the victim is deceased at the time of trial. The Levensten Law Firm, along with teams of lawyers around the country, will work hard to thwart these efforts and ensure swift justice and settlements for anyone who suffered bladder cancer while on Actos.