Actos News

Actos Manufacturer Surveyed Doctors about Bladder Cancer in 2003,
Internal Documents Show
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

One of the central allegations in the ongoing Actos bladder cancer trial is that Actos manufacturer Takeda has long known that its diabetes drug caused bladder cancer in patients but chose not to warn consumers or the medical community.

Central Civil West Courthouse, Superior Court of California in Los AngelesThat accusation was part of the original complaint and was again raised by the plaintiff’s attorney in opening arguments last Friday. On the other hand, counsel for the defendant, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, took the position in its opening statement that Actos has never been shown to cause cancer and asserted that “the science and the data is what determined what Takeda did.” However, key documents that will be offered into evidence during trial suggest that a third factor was foremost in Takeda’s decision making process: profit. 

One of those documents is an internal PowerPoint presentation produced by Takeda dated December of 2003. The presentation summarizes the results of a survey Takeda conducted to determine what factors influenced physicians in prescribing Actos and similar drugs. As part of that survey a limited number of physicians were asked how they would react to a hypothetical diabetes medication that carried an increased risk of bladder tumors.

All of the doctors surveyed indicated that they would either not use such a drug at all, or their use would decline, and, for most of them, decline greatly. One physician said, “If there is a risk of bladder tumors I would definitely not use it.” Another stated, “I would not be likely to use the product.”

In short, the survey revealed that warning doctors of an Actos-bladder cancer link would destroy sales of Takeda’s most important drug.

The fact that Takeda would ask such a question suggests that they were not at all confident that “science and the data” were on their side, as does the fact that this was the only survey question Takeda presented to a limited number of physicians.Attorneys for plaintiff Jack Cooper, who is dying of bladder cancer allegedly caused by Actos, will argue in court that Takeda knew its bladder tumor concerns were in fact well founded and acted to insure that scientific data did not influence sales.




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