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Chicago Jury Decides Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is not Responsible for Man’s Bladder Cancer Death

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Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is not responsible for the death of a man who died in 2006 after taking the Type 2 diabetes drug Actos, a jury decided yesterday.

A lawyer for the family of William Whitlach, 57, urged the jury to award at least $10 million to his wife and children for pain, suffering, and financial losses caused by his death. During the closing arguments of the four-week trial, the attorney said Takeda continued to sell its Actos even though it knew caused bladder cancer in order to maximize returns before competing generic versions reached the market, BusinessWeek.com reported.

Whitlatch died in 2006 at the age of 57. He had been a machinist for the Peoria, Illinois-based company, Caterpillar. Whitlatch began taking Actos in 1999 and his family claimed he not told the drug could cause bladder cancer, according to BusinessWeek.com.

Takeda’s attorney argued that the Whitlatch legal team had failed to prove that Actos caused William’s death, and noted that the man was diabetic and a former smoker, which increased his likelihood of developing cancer, Bloomberg News reported.

After less than two hours of deliberation, the jury of seven men and five women returned with a unanimous verdict, according to DrugWatch.com.

Takeda and Eli Lilly & Co. were ordered to pay $9 billion in punitive damages by a federal jury last month after discovering the drug manufacturers hid Actos cancer risks. The companies said they will appeal, according to BusinessWeek.com.

In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added a warning to Actos’ drug label that says “there may be an increased chance of having bladder cancer when patients take Actos.”

More than 3,000 Actos cases are awaiting trial in Illinois and some experts say that number could reach 10,000. Another bladder cancer trial is currently underway in Nevada. Bertha Triana, 80, and Delores Cipriano, 81, claim their bladder cancer was caused by Actos. They are seeking more than $1 billion in damages. Closing arguments are expected to begin Monday, DrugWatch.com reported.


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