Bladder cancer victim who had taken ACTOS diabetes drug sues Takeda Pharmaceuticals

By Jon Campisi | Sep 12, 2012

A suburban Philadelphia couple has joined as plaintiffs in the ACTOS products Liability

litigation being handled at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, with the husband claiming his bladder cancer was a direct result of his having taken the diabetes medication of the same name.

Philadelphia attorneys Joseph L. Messa and Jenimae Almquist, of the firm Messa & Associates, filed suit Sept. 7 at the federal court in Philadelphia on behalf of Feasterville, Pa. residents Joseph and Rose Oliva.

The defendants named in the complaint are Takeda Pharmaceuticals and various company subsidiaries, as well as Eli Lilly & Company.

Like other plaintiffs in the ACTOS docket, the Olivas claim Joseph’s injuries are directly attributed to his ingestion of the pharmaceutical used to treat diabetes.

The defendants are responsible for the manufacture, design and sale of the prescription drug.

The lawsuit states that Joseph Oliva took ACTOplus met between 2009 and 2011, something that eventually led him to developing bladder cancer.

Rose Oliva has a loss of consortium count in the lawsuit in which she claims she has been deprived of her husband’s companionship as a result of  his physical injuries.

ACTOS received FDA approval in 1999 to treat Type 2 diabetes mellitus, background information on the case shows.

The drug was jointly launched by Takeda North America and Lilly that same year.

ACTOplus met received FDA approval on Aug. 29, 2005, to treat the same ailment.

The complaint alleges that prior to applying for and obtaining federal approval for the drug, the defendants knew or should have known that ACTOS use in humans was associated with a risk of bladder cancer, a sign that the pharmaceutical should have undergone further testing before being placed into the stream of commerce.

“Despite bladder cancer findings in animal model carcinogenicity studies and other pre-clinical evidence, Defendants failed to adequately conduct complete and proper testing of ACTOS and ACTOplus met prior to filing its New Drug Application of ACTOS and ACTOplus met,” the lawsuit states.

The complaint also alleges that additional bladder cancer evidence from human clinical trials became known to the defendants early last decade.

For more than a decade, the suit claims, the defendants ignored the association between the use of the drug and the risk of patients developing bladder cancer.

The Oliva suit says that had the plaintiff and his physician been adequately warned of the dangers associated with the drug, he would have never purchased and taken the drug in the first place.

In addition to his bladder cancer, the lawsuit states, Joseph Oliva has also experienced physical pain, mental anguish, and a “reasonable fear” of future cancer and continuing metastasis and other complications caused by his bladder cancer.

The lawsuit contains counts of negligence, strict products liability and breach of express and implied warranties.

The plaintiffs seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys fees, costs and other court relief.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-05107-BMS.

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