Users allege diabetes drug Actos increases risk of bladder cancer

Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013

  • 06
  • March

Beaumont readers have likely heard of the diabetes drug Actos. The drug was very successful in the U.S., with sales peaking at over $4 billion annually. The sales from this drug alone made up nearly 30 percent of the manufacturer's revenue.

The Japanese pharmaceutical drug manufacturer that makes Actos is now facing thousands of lawsuits from across the U.S., alleging that the defective drug had serious unknown side effects.

Some users of Actos claim that the drug causes bladder cancer and increased risk of congestive heart failure. These users are suing the maker of Actos, seeking compensation for their injuries. They allege that the drug manufacturer ignored signs that Actos increased the risk of bladder cancer and misled U.S. regulators as the drug was going through the approval process. The users also point out that regulators in Germany and France removed the drug from the market in 2011.

The drug manufacturer denies any causal link between the use of Actos and bladder cancer, suggesting that the cancer was merely coincidental. Indeed, bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer among men.

Consumers expect that when a pharmaceutical drug manufacturer places a medicine on the market, that medicine will be safe to use. Patients have the right to expect that that all information about a medicine, even the potential dangers of the drug, will be fully divulged to the public.

Unfortunately, the economic incentives to hide negative information about a drug are just too great to ignore for some manufacturers. If a drug is popular, manufacturers stand to make billions off of a single medicine, as the manufacturer did in the case of Actos.

When a manufacturer chooses to put profits over public safety, patients injured by this action can seek compensation for medical costs and pain and suffering associated with the injury.

Source: Bloomberg, "Takeda Faces First Trial Over Actos Diabetes Drug in L.A.," Jef Feeley & Margaret Cronin Fisk, Feb. 18, 2013

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