Pharmaceutical companies have a duty to make sure that prescription drugs they manufacture comply with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) safety standards. Unfortunately, many consumers fall victim to life-altering, and sometimes fatal, consequences when drugmakers fail to follow the rules. Today, patients who have been hurt by the diabetes medication Actos have joined this group of victimized consumers.
Actos Use and Consequences
With diabetes on the rise among Americans, many companies are working to create treatment medications. One such medication is Actos, created by the Japanese pharmaceutical company, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and marketed by Eli Lilly. Actos (pioglitazone) is prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes by helping to regulate blood sugar in those suffering from diabetic or pre-diabetic hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
The medication is supposed to decrease insulin resistance by lowering the amount of glucose that the liver produces. The decreased glucose production forces the body to use the excess insulin in the blood more efficiently.
At one time, this drug was extremely successful and widely prescribed. It was one of the most successful diabetes medications ever used in the medical community, which in turn made it a profitable product for Takeda. Unfortunately, long-term use of the drug has been linked to several serious side effects, driving many former users of the drug to file lawsuits against Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly as a result.
Discovered Side Effects
In 2010, the FDA released a report outlining the potential hazards of long-term Actos use. The report disclosed that the medication caused a range of minor complications, including headaches; muscle, joint, and tooth pain; and urinary tract, upper respiratory, sinus, and skin infections. Less common side effects included more serious conditions, such as organ damage (liver failure, edema, and cardiac-fluid retention) and bladder cancer.
Cancer Side Effect Costs
The continuous use of Actos for more than one year could increase your risk of developing bladder cancer by 40 percent. Like many other types of cancer, bladder cancer is most successfully treated when it is caught early. As a result, it is important for Actos users to be aware of the symptoms related to this disease as well as treatment factors. Common symptoms include bloody urine, frequent urination, frequent bladder infections, back pain (located around the kidneys), and painful urination.
When diagnosed early, victims of stage 0 and stage I bladder cancer will have to undergo the following treatments, in addition to their diabetes management:
- Transurethral resection. Doctors use a cystoscope to burn away the cancer cells.
- Segmental cystectomy. With this treatment, surgeons remove a portion of the diseased bladder and sew together the remaining bladder.
- Chemotherapy and immunotherapy. These treatments are used to ensure that the cancer is eliminated. In some cases, patients may need multiple rounds of treatment.
If the cancer is not caught until a later stage (II or III), the following treatments are typically suggested:
- Radical cystectomy. This procedure involves the removal of the entire diseased bladder. It is then replaced with one of several urinary diversions, such as creating a new bladder from the intestines or using a new urinary elimination system.
- Chemotherapy and immunotherapy. These treatments are typically used to further destroy spreading cancer cells, unless the patient is too sick or elderly.
- Clinical trials. Some patients with advanced stage bladder cancer may seek clinical trials that offer new ways to battle the disease.
Due to the high reoccurrence rate of bladder cancer, in addition to these treatments, patients will require ongoing checkups. Typically, these will be scheduled every three months for the first three years after the diagnosis, and at least once every year after.
Fault, Liability, and Compensation
The current lawsuits brought against Takeda and Eli Lilly claim that the companies’ actions directly placed consumers at risk. In addition to failing to comply with safety standards, the allegations suggest that the companies:
- Knew that the drug was dangerous.
- Withheld condemning test results and safety research data.
- Failed to warn the public of potential side effects.
- Continued to market the medication without safety labeling, and without regard for consumer safety.
As a result of these failures and dishonesty, those who have suffered debilitating side effects from taking Actos are eligible to file a lawsuit against the companies for a variety of damages.
- Medical damages. Damages awarded to compensate victims for their medical bills after taking Actos. Medical costs may include the expenses related to check-ups, surgery, medications, hospital bills, and rehabilitation.
- Income loss damages. Patients dealing with serious Actos complications often are unable to work. A lawsuit may demand compensation for lost pay, commissions, benefits, bonuses, and other money that would otherwise have been received.
- Disability damages. Damages awarded to compensate victims for their inability to return to work as a result of injuries suffered due to taking Actos. Caregivers of these patients may also lose time from work in order to care for their loved one, and this lost income may also be recoverable in a legal action.
- Emotional damages. Damages awarded for the emotional suffering of those who took Actos and ultimately suffered injuries. Emotional suffering may cause long-lasting damage that can impact a victim for much of his life.
- Wrongful death damages. Damages awarded for funeral costs to families of patients who took Actos and ultimately passed away.
- Punitive damages. Damages awarded for misleading patients and the public as to the dangers of taking Actos.
Successfully Pursuing Your Claim
It’s important to understand that Takeda and Eli Lilly have devoted a lot of time (over five years) and dozens of lawyers to develop a strong defense for their actions. Furthermore, after taking billions of dollars from uninformed diabetic patients, they also have the money to put up an aggressive fight. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from pursuing your rightful claim. It does, however, place additional pressure on you to find experienced representation to help build your case. When looking for an attorney to represent you, look for the following:
- An attorney who has experience with the pharmaceutical industry. Attorneys with this background understand the ins and outs of dealing with these large companies and the specific laws that apply.
- An attorney with experience investigating dangerous drug claims. This is a unique and often complex area of the law. Finding an attorney with a history of pursuing these types of claims can significantly benefit your case.
- An attorney who understands how prescription drugs are marketed. The companies and employees within this industry have their own way of doing things, and an attorney who understands the pharmaceutical marketing process will have the upper hand.
- An attorney who you feel comfortable with. This is perhaps the most important qualification to seek out. Injuries caused by dangerous drugs, including Actos, can often leave patients and their families with a great deal of stress and physical and emotional suffering. A good attorney will handle your claim with both patience and compassion.
For over fifteen years, we’ve been helping victims of defective drugs take back their lives—isn’t it time we helped you?
Whether you suffered an injury or lost a loved one due to a drug company’s or a medical device company’s negligence, you deserve answers and compensation. These companies are legally required to thoroughly test and inspect their products to ensure that you will not be harmed. If you took Actos to treat your diabetes and suffered side effects, you’re entitled to expect that those responsible will be held accountable. Contact our office today for a FREE consultation at 888-526-7616 and see how we can help you fight back.