By O’S News Service April 28, 2015 Some 9,000 people who developed bladder cancer after using Actos —a diabetes drug in pill form— have been offered a $2.4 billion settlement from the manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceutical. The story is buried on page 2 of today’s New York Times.
Takeda’s marketing of Actos faithfully followed the murderous playbook of Big PhRMA. At the start, the manufacturers ignored and buried ominous clinical-trial data. In the end they denied liabilty, magnanimously agreeing to settle “to reduce the uncertainties of complex litigation.”
Class-action suits like the Actos victims’ are preceded by individual cases in which the defendant drug companies assess the mood of jurors. Judges often knock down the amounts jurors want the corporados to pay in punitive damages. In the only Actos case tried in federal court, the judge knocked down the jury’s $9 billion verdict to $36.8 million.
Also typical: Takeda has made many times more money in sales of Actos than they will have to pay the victims —and they can use the payout as a tax write off! The Times story by Andrew Pollack notes that Actos sales got a boost in 2007 after “concerns arose” that Avandia, another diabetes drug taken orally, caused heart attacks.
Typical, too, was the Times covering the Actos tragedy as a business story. Three-thousand Americans killed by terrorists is the biggest political story of our time. More than three thousand Americans killed by a drug company doesn’t even make it to page 1 of the business section. And it’s a one-day story.
Actos remains on the market in the U.S. and Japan. Paying off victims is considered part of “the cost of doing business.” Nice system you got, boys.