Lilly slapped with $3 billion penalty over diabetes drug, cancer risk

(April 8, 2014) – A federal jury ordered Eli Lilly and Co. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. to pay $9 billion after jurors said the companies hid the cancer risks of their Actos diabetes medicine.

As part of the ruling, Indianapolis-based Lilly was ordered to pay $3 billion. Takeda, based in Osaka, Japan, was ordered to pay $6 billion. The companies partnered for the drug. The allocation of liability was 75 percent Takeda and 25 percent Lilly. Jurors also awarded nearly $1.5 million in compensatory damages.

According to Bloomberg, the $9 billion jury award is the seventh-largest in U.S. history. It is likely to be reduced. The trial began on Feb. 3 in United States District Court, Western District Louisiana.

Lilly and its partner face a multitude of lawsuits alleging that they failed to warn patients about potential side effects and concealed the risks of using Actos. Lilly said it disagreed with the decision and planned to challenge it.

Lilly released the follow statement following the ruling:

“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 disagrees with the verdict and we intend to vigorously challenge this outcome through all available legal means.”

Judgments were entered in Takeda’s favor in all three previous Actos trials. Lilly was not named previously. This is the first federal case to be tried and the first in the consolidated Actos multidistrict litigation (MDL). Lilly copromoted Actos with Takeda from 1999 to 2006.

Under Lilly’s agreement with Takeda, Lilly will be indemnified by Takeda for its losses and expenses with respect to the U.S. litigation and other related expenses in accordance with the terms of its indemnification agreement.

Takeda released the following statement in response to the decision:

“Takeda respectfully disagrees with the verdict and we intend to vigorously challenge this outcome through all available legal means, including possible post-trial motions and an appeal,” said Kenneth D. Greisman, senior vice president, general counsel, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.

“We have empathy for the Allens, but we believe the evidence did not support a finding that ACTOS caused his bladder cancer. We also believe we demonstrated that Takeda acted responsibly with regard to ACTOS.”

Judgments were entered in Takeda’s favor in all three previous ACTOS trials. This is the first federal case to be tried and the first in the consolidated ACTOS multidistrict litigation (MDL).

“Patient safety is a critical priority for Takeda,” said Greisman. “We are confident in the therapeutic benefits of ACTOS and its importance as a treatment for type 2 diabetes.”


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