As the largest drug manufacturer in all of Asia, Takeda Pharmaceuticals has established itself as a leading representative in the global pharmaceutical industry. Their commitment to a healthier world reflects a long-standing tradition of providing patients with better health through innovation in medicine. However, their propensity for success may only be rivaled by the substantial influx of lawsuits leveled against the company in recent months. Allegations suggest that Takeda Pharmaceuticals may face approximately 10,000 lawsuits in U.S. courts because of the alleged link between Actos and bladder cancer.
The international powerhouse known as Takeda Pharmaceuticals is the product of a humbled past. Rooted in a tradition that originated over two centuries ago, Takeda Pharmaceuticals was founded by Chobei Takeda in 1781. Accordingly, Takeda founded a business that sold traditional Japanese and Chinese medicines in Doshomachi, Osaka, the center of the medicine trade in Japan at the time. Providing consumers with innovative and revolutionary products made the company an inevitable success.
As the world’s best-selling diabetes medication, Actos undoubtedly propelled Takeda to paramount status in the Pharmaceutical industry. After gaining approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Actos was sold in America as a type 2 diabetes medication on July 15, 1999. Actos has since become one of the most popular diabetes medications on the planet. In the last financial year alone, Actos generated $4.8 billion in sales for Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
Actos is intended for the use of patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a condition in which the body does not utilize insulin properly and therefore cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood. Pioglitazone, the active ingredient in Actos, resides in a group of medications known as thiazolidinediones. As a thiazolidinediones, pioglitazone works by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin, a natural substance that helps control blood sugar levels. Accordingly, Actos is able to use insulin in an efficient manor that assists in the regulation of blood sugar. By doing so, patients are able to combat the symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, recent evidence lends weight to the long-suspected link between Actos and bladder cancer. June of this year witnessed U.S. regulators reveal a company-sponsored study that indicated an increased occurrence rate of bladder cancer with some patients who received Actos treatment. The severe nature of, so-called, Actos bladder cancer has led to an influx of lawsuits against Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Accordingly, regulators across the world have begun to question the safety and effectiveness of the drug itself.
The French Medicines Agency removed Actos from pharmacy shelves after agovernment funded study discovered that it significantly increased the risk of developing bladder cancer. The agency told French doctors to stop prescribing the drugs to patients, but said people currently using them should consult their doctors. German health officials followed close behind after reviewing the French report, which tracked diabetics from 2006 to 2009.
Allen, a resident of Attica, New York acknowledged that he has had two subsequent surgeries to remove cancerous tissue from his bladder and may be facing another in the coming months. “If somebody had told me I could get cancer from Actos, I never would have taken it,” said Allen in a telephone interview. “There were other products out there that could have helped treat my diabetes without putting me through all of this.”
As a result, Allen has sued Takeda Pharmaceuticals to allegedly alert other diabetics that Actos poses serious health risks. His case represents a small fraction of the 10,000 lawsuits that drug manufacturer may potentially face in the near future.
According to company lawyers, Takeda Pharmaceuticals has been sued 54 times over the use of Actos in federal courts around the United States. However, “Takeda already revised the information on risks regarding bladder cancer on leaflets in the U.S. and Japan and is in the process of updating in Europe,” Mitsuo Oguri, a Takeda spokesman in Tokyo, said yesterday by telephone. “Takeda remains confident on the efficacy of pioglitazone for treating type 2 diabetes, while it continues to monitor the safety profile of the medicine.”
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