Andrea Dearden May 16, 2013, 6:50am

Four out-of-state patients have filed a lawsuit against the makers of a diabetes drug they say caused them to develop bladder cancer.

Sonya Carter, Ralph Harris, Monroe Engel and Loriene Rucker filed a lawsuit April 22 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc., Takeda Global Research & Development Center Inc., Takeda Pharmaceuticals LLC, Takeda San Diego Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Inc.

Carter and the other plaintiffs say they were prescribed the diabetes drug Pioglitazone, a medication marketed and sold under the names Actos, Actoplus Met, Actoplus Met XR and Duetact. The drug, taken over time, caused "negative and detrimental effects" to their bladders and urinary systems -- including bladder cancer -- according to the 35-count petition.

The plaintiffs say Actos was designed, tested and distributed as a treatment for Type II diabetes. The group contends the makers knew the drug could cause serious bladder and urinary issues. They accuse the defendants of negligence, claiming they were deceptive in distributing a drug that could lead to life-threatening illnesses, failing to adequately monitor the long-term effects of the drug and failing to warn patients about the risks.

Carter, Harris, Engel and Rucker are asking to be awarded more than $1.75 million in damages in addition to court fees.

They are represented by attorney John J. Driscoll of St. Louis. Driscoll' s law firm represents dozens of plaintiffs from all over the United States who have filed identical claims against the Deerfield-based drug manufacturer.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 13-L-153

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