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Drugmaker hid diabetes drug’s cancer risks, lawyer says

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Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. executives hid the cancer risks of its diabetes medicine Actos to protect billions of dollars in sales, a lawyer for two women argued.

Takeda officials failed to warn consumers and doctors adequately about the company’s research that linked Actos to bladder cancer, Robert Eglet, a lawyer for Delores Cipriano and Bertha Triana, both of whom have contracted the disease after taking the drug, told jurors Monday in closing arguments in a Las Vegas trial.

“A drug company is not allowed to put profits before patients’ safety,” Eglet said. “A drug company must tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the risks of its products.”

The Nevada state-court case will go to the jury six weeks after a federal-court panel in Louisiana ordered Osaka, Japan- based Takeda and Indianapolis-based partner Eli Lilly and  Co. to pay more than $9 billion in damages to a former shopkeeper who developed bladder cancer after taking the drug.

Takeda’s shares fell more than 5 percent in the wake of that award, which is certain to be reduced. Lilly said it was indemnified by Takeda for its losses and expenses with respect to the U.S. litigation.

Takeda, Asia’s largest drugmaker, faces a wave of Actos suits after it scrapped development of another diabetes drug earlier this year when research linked it to liver damage. More than 2,700 Actos suits have been consolidated before a federal judge in Louisiana for pretrial information exchanges, and thousands of other cases have been filed in state courts around the U.S.

An Illinois jury last week found Takeda wasn’t liable for the bladder-cancer death of a man who took Actos.

Nevada District Court Judge Kerry Earley instructed the jurors before the start of arguments that they could infer that Takeda improperly destroyed evidence and it may have been unfavorable to the company.

The judge also told the jurors that they shouldn’t hold against plaintiffs’ lawyers the numerous objections they raised to questions put to witnesses by attorneys representing Takeda. They were prompted by continuous violations of her orders, Earley said.

Takeda’s lawyers were expected to give their closing statement later Monday.

Lilly shares were up 0.6 percent Monday, to $58.70 each.

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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

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