LAFAYETTE, La., April 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The court-appointed Plaintiffs' Steering Committee ("PSC") of the national litigation involving the diabetes drug, Actos, is pleased to announce the resolution of what is expected to be 9,000 claims of individuals who were diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking Actos through a global settlement program.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and its wholly owned subsidiary, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc., confirmed today that the Company had reached an agreement expected to resolve the vast majority of Actos (pioglitazone) product liability lawsuits pending against Takeda in the U.S. The settlement will become effective if 95 percent of current litigants and claimants opt into the settlement. Once that threshold is achieved, Takeda will pay $2.37 billion into a settlement fund. However, that figure will rise to $2.4 billion if 97 percent or more of the current litigants and claimants opt to participate in the settlement.
PSC member Neil Overholtz, lead lawyer in many of the discovery depositions taken in the case, which included depositions of executives of Takeda and Eli Lilly, said, "[t]he leadership and effort that was put forth in this litigation by Co-Lead Counsel Richard Arsenault and Paul Pennock, along with the tremendous effort of the PSC members, has been unparalleled in my experience in medical device and pharmaceutical drug litigation." Neil Overholtz added, "The incredible result in the Actos federal court trial, which resulted in a $9 billion dollar punitive damages verdict, was a result of the dedication and commitment of the PSC."
Over 4,000 Actos cases are pending in MDL 2299, with the majority of Plaintiffs having been diagnosed with bladder cancer as a result of taking one of the best-selling diabetes drugs on the market. Judge Rebecca Doherty presided over the first federal court Actos trial in 2014. After 11 weeks, the jury rendered a historic $9 billion punitive damages verdict against Eli Lilly and Takeda. During the Actos trial in Lafayette, the Plaintiffs argued that Takeda added a warning for bladder cancer to its label only in the summer of 2011, despite evidence of a doubling of the risk of bladder cancer in their clinical trials from 2004 forward.
"This settlement allows thousands of bladder cancer victims to be fairly compensated for their injuries and to hold Takeda and Eli Lilly accountable for selling this drug for more than a decade without a proper warning," said Neil Overholtz.
The accord has been reported to be one of the largest U.S. settlements of suits targeting a drug's side effects. "We are pleased that Takeda has agreed to provide $2.4 billion to compensate thousands of deserving bladder cancer victims. After years of hard fought and contentious litigation, the defendants have finally stepped up to the plate and we applaud that effort," Richard Arsenault said.
The final settlement negotiations were led by a team of lawyers from the PSC, including Richard Arsenault, Paul Pennock, Neil Overholtz, and Pat Morrow. Gary Russo of the Jones Walker firm was the court appointed Special Master. The agreement, now approved by Takeda's Board of Directors, is intended to resolve nearly 9,000 bladder cancer claims. The allocation of the settlement funds will be determined through a claims administration process with the oversight of a court-appointed Special Master. Each claimant's allocation will be determined using case-specific factors, such as cumulative dosage and smoking history, along with the extent of injury.
"From the outset of this litigation, we made it clear that the defendants needed to accept responsibility, and this settlement goes a long way toward achieving that goal. The handling of this litigation by my co-lead counsel, Richard Arsenault, has been masterful, and I am proud to have served at his side these last three years," Paul Pennock said. He added, "Neil Overholtz was integral to the success of this litigation and our trial team, and his command of the science in the case and liability documents were second to none."
Neil D. Overholtz
SOURCE Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz