Takeda and Eli Lilly sued over Actos in Madison County

By Kelly Holleran | Oct 3, 2011


A man claims he developed bladder cancer after taking medication to treat his type II diabetes.

Robert and Jewell Bettorf allege Robert Bettorf began taking Actos, which is manufactured by defendants Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Company, in 2007. At the time he took the medication, Robert Bettorf was unaware that those who took the prescription for more than 12 months faced an increased risk of developing bladder cancer, according to the complaint filed Sept. 16 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Takeda and Eli Lilly were aware as early as 2005 of the increased risk of cancer associated with the drug, but failed to warn consumers of it, the suit states.

In 2005, a two-year carcinogenic study was conducted on male and female rats. Results of the study revealed that rats tended to develop drug-induced tumors, the complaint says.

Another study revealed that patients who took Actos were more prone to develop bladder cancer than those who ingested similar medications, the Bettorfs allege.

However, Takeda and Eli Lilly failed to publish the results of the studies, according to the complaint.

On June 9, France announced its decision to cease the sale of Actos based on a study that found an increased risk of bladder cancer for users, the suit states.

Less than one week later, the FDA required that the increased risk be added to the warnings section of the drug, the complaint says.
Takeda eventually relented and recalled the drug in France, but failed to do the same in the U.S. perhaps because the drug is so profitable for the company, the Bettorfs allege.

"Actos is one of Takeda's top-selling drugs," the suit states. "Upon information and belief, in the last year, the medication had global sales of $4.8 billion and accounted for approximately 27 percent of Takeda's revenue."

In 2008, Robert Bettorf was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He stopped using Actos in 2011, according to the complaint.

Because of his use of the prescription and his subsequent illness, Robert Bettorf experienced extreme pain, suffering and emotional distress. In addition, he incurred medical costs, the suit states.

His wife, Jewell Bettorf alleges she lost her husband's companionship, services and society and has experienced great mental anguish.

In their complaint, the Bettorfs allege strict liability, negligent failure to warn, negligent design defect, negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, negligent misrepresentation, violation of Illinois Consumer Protection Laws and loss of consortium.

The Bettorfs seek a judgment of more than $50,000, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs, attorneys' fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Randy L. Gori and D. Todd Matthews of Gori, Julian and Associates in Edwardsville will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-934.

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