Another class-action lawsuit has been filed over the diabetes drug Actos and its link to bladder cancer — this time in Quebec, Canada. The suit names Actos manufacturers and distributors Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly & Co.
In a class-action lawsuit, the lead plaintiff is considered the face of the lawsuit that comprises a class of consumers with similar legal claims. In this case, Jimmy Whyte has stepped forward as a representative of Quebec residents who developed bladder cancer after taking Actos for type 2 diabetes. Members of the class agree to one trial and one judgment. If a settlement or monetary judgment results, the class splits the award evenly after lawyers and expenses are paid.
“It would have been important to know that ACTOS would increase my risks of developing bladder cancer before I began taking it,” Whyte said in a news release. “I believe this class action is necessary to determine whether the manufacturer of this drug should be held responsible for not disclosing such important information to me.”
Actos was approved for sale in Canada in August 2000, according to Bloomberg. Since that time, the prescription medicine, generically known as pioglitazone hydrochloride, has been associated with many serious complications, including heart failure, macular edema, lactic acidosis, bone fractures and bladder cancer.
Actos and Bladder Cancer Risk
The risk of bladder cancer was so troubling that the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) issued a formal safety alert on June 15, 2011, stating that the use Actos for more than one year seriously increases the risk of bladder cancer. The agency based its warning on the five-year interim results of a 10-year study being conducted by Takeda. At that time, the FDA also began requiring medicines that contain pioglitazone to include the warning about an increased risk of bladder cancer on their labels.
Actos has been banned in Germany and France.
The drug also recently was in the news in Canada because a new study asserts that the risk of developing bladder cancer after taking Actos actually is higher than originally thought. Researchers had established that diabetes patients already have a 40 percent higher incidence rate of bladder cancer. The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on July 3, 2012, found that taking Actos adds a 22 percent risk to an already-high risk of bladder cancer.