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California State Jury Awards $6.5 Million In 1st Actos Bladder Cancer Case To Go To Trial

LOS ANGELES - (Mealey's) A California state court jury on April 26 awarded $6.5 million in the first Actos bladder cancer case to go to trial, according to the parties (Jack Cooper v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc., CGC-12-518535, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

The parties said the jury in the Los Angeles County Superior Court awarded $5 million in compensatory damages to plaintiff Jack Cooper and $1.5 million to his wife, Nancy, for loss of consortium. The jury did not award punitive damages.

In a statement issued Friday, defendant Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. said it has pending motions for judgment as a matter of law and is considering its options, including an appeal if its motions are denied. "Takeda respectfully disagrees with the jury's verdict," said Kenneth D. Greisman, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of Takeda USA.

"Takeda empathizes with patients like Mr. Cooper, but we believe the evidence did not support a finding that Actos caused his bladder cancer," Greisman said. "We also believe we demonstrated that Takeda acted responsibly with regard to Actos. We promptly disclosed Actos safety data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory authorities and provided updated product information to health care professionals and patients."

Cancer Spread, Trial Granted

Jack Cooper, now 79, took Actos for more than five years to treat his diabetes. The drug is used to lower blood glucose in diabetics.

Cooper sued Takeda, a Japanese drug manufacturer, in the Superior Court, alleging that as a result of taking Actos, he developed bladder cancer that was diagnosed in 2011. Cooper says his cancer spread to his appendix, pelvic lymph nodes and lungs.

According to Cooper's counsel, the plaintiff's doctors told him that the progression of the disease to his lungs generally marks the end stage of his cancer. Because his disease is terminal, the court granted Cooper's motion for an early trial.

Takeda argued that Cooper was at risk for bladder cancer and that Actos did not cause his injury.

2-Month Trial

The trial began Feb. 19, and the jury began deliberations on April 16.

Judge Kenneth R. Freeman presided.

In 2011, the FDA required Takeda to update the Actos label to warn that the use of pioglitazone for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. Plaintiffs subsequently filed product liability lawsuits against Takeda.

Federal, California Centralization

Federal lawsuits are centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. In 2012, California state court Actos cases were centralized in the Los Angeles County Superior Court (In Re Actos Product Liability Cases Coordinated Proceeding, JCCP No. 4696, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

Cooper is represented by Michael J. Miller, Jeffrey A. Travers, Timothy Litzenberger and Nancy Guy Miller of the Miller Firm in Orange, Va. Takeda is represented by Sara J. Gourley and Catherin Valerio Barrad of Sidley Austin in Chicago and Bruce R. Parker of Venable in Baltimore.

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