Actos (pioglitazone) was marketed by Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc. and Eli Lilly and Co. in 1999 for the treatment of Type II diabetes. During a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente, it was demonstrated that use of pioglitazone increased the risk of bladder cancer. Shortly after, the French National Health Insurance launched a similar study which resulted in a similar link to bladder cancer. France and Germany pulled pioglitazone-containing medicines from the market in July of 2011.
On August 31, a petition was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation asking that the federal Actos cancer litigation be consolidated before a judge for coordinated handling during pretrial proceedings. This would help reduce duplicative discovery and avoid conflicting rulings from judges in different districts. The MDL process would also help facilitate an Actos settlement agreement for bladder cancer victims.
The motion was filed by plaintiffs Glen and Nina Weant, who asked the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate all federal Actos lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois before Judge G. Patrick Murphy. At the time of filing, there were 11 lawsuits pending in 8 different federal district courts throughout the United States involving individuals who developed bladder cancer after Actos use. All of the lawsuits involve similar allegations that Takeda Pharmaceuticals failed to adequately research their medication or warn about the increased risk of bladder cancer when Actos is used for long periods of time. However, other plaintiffs filed responses suggesting other jurisdictions for the Actos litigation to be centralized, such as the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio before Judge Dan A. Polster.
On December 29, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized the Actos litigation before U.S. District Judge Rebecca F. Doherty in the Western District of Louisiana claiming that “the allegations in this nationwide litigation do not have a strong connection to any particular district, and related actions are pending in numerous districts across the country” and that “centralization in the Western District of Louisiana permits the Panel to assign the litigation to an experienced judge who sits in a district in which no other multidistrict litigation is pending.”
Read the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation’s Transfer Order here.