Kyle Barnett Apr. 15, 2014, 2:04pm

LAFAYETTE – A jury in southwest Louisiana has ordered pharmaceutical corporations Takeda and Eli Lilly to pay total of $9 billion in punitive damages for allegedly covering up cancer risks of the diabetes drug Actos.

The award was the result of a lawsuit filed by Henry Allen against Takeda Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co. in the Western District of Louisiana United States District Court on June 13, 2013. Allen claimed his bladder cancer was caused by Actos, a drug designed, manufactured and sold by the defendants. 

The jury awarded $6 billion against Takeda and $3 billion against Eli Lilly. In addition, Allen was awarded $1.475 million in compensatory damages.

In a statement provided after the verdict was handed down Kenneth D. Greisman, senior vice president and general counsel of Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. Inc., said the verdict would be appealed.

“Takeda respectfully disagrees with the verdict and we intend to vigorously challenge this outcome through all available legal means, including possible post-trial motions and an appeal,” he said. “We have empathy for the Allens, but we believe the evidence did not support a finding that ACTOS caused his bladder cancer. We also believe we demonstrated that Takeda acted responsibly with regard to Actos.”

Allen’s attorney, Mark Lanier said the evidence provided at the trial linked Actos to bladder cancer seven years before the ruling came down on April 7.

“Eight people from Lafayette, Louisiana, spoke loudly about how business is to be conducted in America,” Lanier said. “This should be a wake-up call to any business that acts with reckless disregard for the safety of people.”

The case was the first to be tried in federal court concerning Actos and was heard by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty.

Lanier said more than 2,700 such cases have been consolidated in Doherty’s court, which Takeda and Ely Lilly must still face.

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