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A trial against Takeda Pharmaceuticals, seeking more than $1 billion in punitive damages started last week in Las Vegas.

Delores Cipriano’s and Bertha Triana’s lawsuits against Takeda allege the drug, Actos (pioglitazone), which is used to treat diabetes, is responsible for their bladder cancer.  Several suits regarding Actos and bladder cancer have already made their way to court with conflicting results. In fact, an estimated 5,500 personal injury cases have reached various state and federal courts alleging patients have suffered serious side effects as a result of Actos.

The suits contend the company failed to adequately warn patients about the risk of bladder cancer associated with use of Actos. In 2011, the FDA warned about the potential risk, with the highest risk reportedly in people that use Actos for an extended period of more than six months at high doses.

On December 17, a defense verdict was returned in the third Actos case to go to trial in Las Vegas. In that case, Alan Alsbagh had taken Actos as well as generic versions (which were not approved by the FDA at the time of his taking) for his diabetes and was later diagnosed with bladder cancer. This is only the third time a jury has decided an Actos lawsuit and the first time the drug’s manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceutical, has been cleared of all liability.

A federal trial involving hundreds of consolidated Actos cases is taking place in Louisiana.

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