Judge Assigns Attorneys to Special Positions in Actos MDL
Progress continues in lawsuits centralized in Actos multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Western District of Louisiana. In a recent order, Judge Rebecca F. Doherty appointed attorneys to special positions in the litigation, which was established by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on December 29, 2011.
Plaintiffs allege Actos cancer
Most Actos allegations include claims of liability and negligence against defendants and manufacturers Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, alleging the companies did not do enough to test the diabetes drug for safety before releasing it on the market. A 2011 FDA communication warned physicians and the public of a potential connection between long-term use of the medication and Actos cancer. Since that warning, more patients have sought the advice of an Actos lawyer.
Appointments made in MDL Actos lawsuits
In an order dated March 12, 2012, Judge Doherty appointed two attorneys to serve as co-lead counsel and one attorney as liaison counsel, established an executive committee of seven attorneys, and created a plaintiffs’ steering committee of 12 attorneys to help determine which Actos lawsuits are qualified to join the MDL.
In a subsequent order dated March 16, the judge appointed one attorney as special master for MDL Actos lawsuits, another as deputy special master, and a third as another deputy special master, plaintiffs’ side only.
A special master is normally appointed by a judge to oversee one or more aspects of litigation, and is known as the “dispute-resolver.” These professionals help manage and facilitate pre-trial processes, freeing up the judge’s time to spend on other cases.
Warnings of Actos cancer in 2011
The FDA approved Actos for use in helping to maintain blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes in 1999. In 2010, the agency announced that it was looking into the potential of the drug to increase the risk of Actos cancer, and in 2011, issued a warning that those taking Actos for longer than a year have a 40 percent increased risk of bladder cancer.
About the same time, France suspended sales of Actos as research there had shown similar results. Takeda initiated an Actos recall in France in July 2011. The product remains on the market in the U.S., however.
Actos lawsuits increasing
After the FDA’s warning in 2011, more patients became aware of the potential connection between the drug and Actos cancer, with many seeking the advice of an Actos lawyer.
Actos lawsuits typically bring counts of negligence, liability, and failure to warn, blaming Takeda and Eli Lilly for failing to adequately study the product for safety issues, and for ignoring early animal studies that indicated a potential for Actos cancer risk.
When the Actos MDL was first formed, only 11 Actos lawsuits were involved. Over 100 were tagged as potential tag-along cases. Since then, the number of plaintiffs claiming Actos cancer has increased, and the caseload continues to climb.