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US judge cuts billions from Takeda/Lilly Actos payment

Court rules that companies must now pay damages of $36.8m rather than $9bn
Takeda office

A US judge yesterday ruled that the $9bn in damages Lilly and Takeda were due to pay over a court battle related to diabetes drug Actos should be reduced to $36.8m.

Rebecca Doherty, the US District Judge for the state of Louisiana, stopped short of overturning the verdict, which revolved around the risk of developing bladder cancer after taking Actos (pioglitazone), but slashed Lilly's payment from $3bn to $9.2m and Takeda's from $6bn to $27.6m.

According to Doherty's ruling, the original $9bn payment decided in April this year was “excessive”, although punitive damages were still necessary due to the “high degree of reprehensibility of the defendants' conduct and the need to adequately deter such conduct in the future”.

The case is one of thousands consolidated in US courts that claim Takeda and Lilly deliberately misled regulators about a link between type 2 diabetes drug Actos and bladder cancer.

It was brought forward by plaintiff Terrance Allen who was diagnosed with bladder cancer in January 2011 and had been using Actos (pioglitazone) to help control his diabetes between 2004 and 2011.

At the time of the initial verdict Takeda and Lilly disputed the decision, while many legal experts doubted the huge figure for damages – among the largest ever issued – would stand.

These doubts have proved correct, although Lilly and Takeda both issued statements saying the verdict should not stand in any case and the companies will continue in their legal battle.

"While we have empathy for the plaintiff, we believe the evidence did not support his claims," said Mike Harrington, senior vice president and general counsel, Lilly.  "We will continue working vigorously to overturn the verdict."

Kenneth Greisman, general counsel for Takeda in the US, added: “We view the substantially reduced punitive damage award as a step in the right direction, but we believe a damage award of any amount is not justified based on the evidence presented in this trial and we will appeal.”

Takeda has set up six trials involving Actos to help support the drug's safety. Results for the first of these were published in August this year and demonstrated no statistically significant increased risk of bladder cancer.

28th October 2014

From: Sales, Regulatory, Healthcare

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