Louisiana sends Takeda $9-billion Actos bill

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A Louisiana court slapped Takeda and partner Lilly with punitive damages of $9 billion over the diabetes drug Actos. The split is $6 billion Takeda, $3 billion for co-promoter Lilly, but Lilly noted in a statement that its agreement with Takeda indemnifies the company from litigation losses and expenses.

The lawsuit is one of several against the drugmakers over allegations that they tried to hide the cancer risk associated with the medication.

Lilly Senior Vice Chairman and General Counsel Mike Harrington said in a statement that the firm will “vigorously challenge this outcome through all available legal means.”

Litigation results have been elastic—Bloomberg notes that although California and Maryland juries hit Takeda with $8.2 million in damages over Actos, “judges in both states threw out the verdicts.”

Reuters notes that the $9 billion in damages surpass the $5 billion leveled at Exxon over the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and that these damages are “meant to discourage other companies from bad conduct.” Reuters also notes that Germany and France banned the drug three years ago “due to worries about a possible link to cancer.”

The Associated Press reports that a 2011 FDA drug safety update said Actos was associated with a 40% increase in bladder cancer among Actos patients who used the drug for more than a year.

The Louisiana court also awarded $1.5 million for patient compensation.

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