Drugmakers Takeda and Lilly Lose Bid to Overturn $9 Billion Actos® Verdict

August 29, 2014 – A federal judge rejected a bid by top Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical and Eli Lilly & Co. on August 28 to throw out a $9 billion punitive damage award for hiding the cancer risks of their diabetes drug, Actos®.

The combined $9 billion award stems from a March 8 ruling when jurors found that Takeda and Lilly acted with “wanton and reckless disregard” in their promotion and marketing of Actos. The Court ordered Takeda to pay $6 billion of the award, and Lilly to pay $3 billion.

Evidence considered by the jurors in the trial showed that Takeda and Lilly officials knew about the bladder cancer risks associated with Actos, but failed to provide adequate warnings to physicians and patients about increased cancer risks.

“The jury acted within its role and discretion to attach whatever weight and make whatever reasonable inference it deemed appropriate when assessing the defendant’s conduct,” U.S. District Judge Rebecca F. Doherty of the Western District of Louisiana said in her 101-page decision.

Doherty also held in an earlier ruling this year that Takeda acted in bad faith, in deleting emails: “[s}pecifically, evidence of the fact that Takeda destroyed files, and why, is relevant to the questions of Takeda’s intent and to the nature of its conduct, a pivotal aspect inherent in the punitive-damages claim.”

Actos, an oral Type 2 diabetes medication that regulates blood sugar levels, was released to the market in 1999. Since that time, the drug has generated more than $16 billion, according to court filings as noted in an August 2014 Bloomberg article. Lilly co-marked the drug for Takeda from 1999-2006. Lilly discontinued marketing in the U.S., but engaged in other actions related to the drug and retained the rights to sell the drug in parts of Canada, Mexico, Asia and Europe.

According to Bloomberg data, the $9 billion verdict is the second-largest in the U.S. in 2014.

The Allen case was the first of several federal trials over claims that Actos causes bladder cancer. Allen developed bladder cancer after taking Actos for five years. There are currently nearly 3,000 lawsuits coordinated before the U.S. District Judge Rebecca F. Doherty.

In March 2012, Judge Doherty appointed certain plaintiff lawyers to manage the Actos litigation. Attorney Mark P. Robinson, Jr., (RCRSD), was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee.


1. Bloomberg, Takeda Lilly Lose Bid to Overturn $9 Billion Actos Award, Jef Feeley, August, 28, 2014

2. The National Law Journal, Judge Rejects Challenge to $9 Billion Actos Verdict, Amanda Bronstad, Updated August 29, 2014

3. Reuters, Takeda Lilly Lose Bid to Overturn $9 Billion Award for Hiding Cancer Risk, August 29, 2014

4. Allen v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc., 12-cv-00064, U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana