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Takeda to pay $2.4 billion to settle product liability suits

Many Californians rely on prescription medications to make them feel better, whether they suffer from short-term pain from injuries or long-term effects from a chronic health condition. Unfortunately, some medications have serious side-effects, and while manufacturers have a duty to disclose these, some of them attempt to hide them from the public. That was what Japanese drug manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceutical is accused of doing after it found out that the diabetes drug Actos could potentially cause bladder cancer. The company is now paying the price - to the tune of $2.4 billion.

Takeda is accused of hiding the fact that the drug increases the change of developing bladder cancer. The company is now facing approximately 9,000 product liability lawsuits from patients who have taken Actos and developed bladder cancer.

Takeda has agreed to put the money aside to settle the product liability lawsuits. While the $2.4 billion will likely settle most of the claims, the company will also take a $2.7 billion charge against its earnings to cover any other claims and associated fees. Takeda, however, refuses to admit liability and agreed to set aside the money in order to avoid complex litigation. The company maintains that the benefits of Actos outweigh any risks and is still marketing the drug in the United States and Japan.

While almost all drugs contain some side effects, death should not be one of them. Takeda should have done more to protect consumers by disclosing the risk to which its customers may be subjected. It often doesn't pay to cover up information, especially when unsafe products are putting consumers' lives at risk.

Source: The New York Times, "Takeda Agrees to Pay $2.4 Billion to Settle Suits Over Cancer Risk of Actos," Andrew Pollack, April 28, 2015

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