Type 2 diabetes drug Actos has generated more than $16 billion since its release in 1999, according to court filings in lawsuits against the drug’s manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Lawyers have accused Takeda of putting profits before patients’ health by waiting nearly 7 years to issue a warning about the increased risks of cancer associated with Actos.
Actos sales peaked at $4.5 billion for the year ending March 2011, when the company revealed that patients who take Actos are 40% more likely to develop bladder cancer. Lawyers allege that executives knew of the Actos bladder cancer risks as early as 2004, but elected not to reveal the information.
Takeda has also been charge with destroying the files of 46 former and current employees, including information from top executives and sales representatives. A jury recently awarded $9 billion in punitive damages in an Actos lawsuit after finding the company failed to warn patients of the risks associated with the drug.