Japan's Takeda offers $2.2 bn to settle US drug lawsuits
Japan's top drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical has offered $2.2 billion to settle US claims linked to its diabetes drug Actos, in what would be one of the biggest US payouts over patient lawsuits, a report said Wednesday.
Citing three people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News said the firm has offered the huge settlement to close more than 8,000 lawsuits alleging it concealed the medicine's cancer risks.
The proposal would amount to a payment of about $275,000 for each case, the report said, adding that a final deal has not yet been reached.
Last year a federal jury in Louisiana ordered Takeda and US-based Eli Lilly & Co. to pay a combined $9.0 billion in damages to a patient who said Actos had caused his bladder cancer. A judge later cut the payout to $36.8 million.
Takeda has faced at least nine trials since 2013 over claims it tried to cover up Actos's cancer risks, including the Louisiana trial.
The company won three cases and some other damage awards have been quashed or are being appealed, Bloomberg said.
But five juries have found the company liable for patients' injuries, it added.
A Tokyo-based spokesman for Takeda declined to discuss the lawsuits or comment on Wednesday's report.
Actos sales peaked in the year ended March 2011 at $4.5 billion and accounted for more than one quarter of Takeda's revenue at the time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Former users accused Takeda executives of ignoring or playing down worries about the drug's cancer links before it went on sale in the US in the late 1990s, and then misleading US regulators about the risks.
Eli Lilly was Takeda's US marketing and sales partner until 2006, with the US firm keeping the rights to sell Actos in parts of Asia and Europe as well as in Canada and Mexico.
© 2015 AFP