Jim Boyle Feb. 17, 2015, 10:03am


PHILADELPHIA - A jury in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas ruled Thursday in favor of a plaintiff who claimed a pharmaceutical company's diabetes drug caused his bladder cancer.

Osaka, Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. has been ordered to pay John Kristufek $3.65 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The company is the manufacturer of Actos, a diabetes drug that has been at the center of more than 8,000 suits across the United States, including 3,500 that have been consolidated in Louisiana.

Kristufek, who resides in Harrisville, sued Takeda Pharmaceuticals and various company subsidiaries over allegations that the defendants concealed, and continue to conceal, their knowledge of Actos’ “unreasonably dangerous risks from Plaintiff, his physicians, other consumers and the medical community,” the suit said.

The complaint states that while sales reps don’t deliver the drugs or information to pharmacies and doctors’ offices, they do “aggressively and proactively formulate strategies to induce physicians to prescribe their drugs so that they can receive bonuses, commissions and other prizes from Takeda.”

The lawsuit claims that Kristufek’s physicians were urged by sales reps to promote the use of Actos over “other safer more effective Diabetes medications.”

“Consumers, including Plaintiff, who have used Actos for treatment of type II diabetes, have several alternative safer products available to treat the conditions and have not been adequately warned about the significant risks and lack of benefits associated with Actos therapy,” the lawsuit stated.

Kristufek, the suit stated, was not made aware of the dangers of Actos until the risks of bladder cancer development were exposed in a June 15, 2011, safety announcement by the Food and Drug Administration.

“As a direct result of being prescribed Actos, Plaintiff has been permanently and severely injured, having suffered serious consequences from Actos use,” the complaint said. “Plaintiff requires and will in the future require ongoing medical care and treatment.”

The suit says that Kristufek was diagnosed with bladder cancer in August 2009, after having ingested Actos for about four years.

Kristufek would have never taken Actos if he had been made aware of the risks associated with the drug, according to the court documents.

As a result of his injuries, Kristufek has suffered severe mental and physical pain, economic losses due to medical expenses and emotional distress.

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