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Actos Update – MDL Established in Louisiana

As noted previously here, the type 2 diabetes prescription medication, Actos, has been alleged to increase the risk for certain individuals to develop bladder cancer. The manufacturer of this medication has denied this association and any allegations that it knew of such risks and failed to warn patients.

At least 11 lawsuits were filed against the manufacturer in federal courts around the country. When lawsuits concerning a medication reach a certain level or the expectation for increased lawsuits appears likely, federal courts will consolidate the pending lawsuits into a single court for pre-trial proceedings, MDL No. 2299., IN RE: Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation.

In this case, following a petition to consolidate the pending Actos lawsuits into a multi-district litigation, in late December 2011, the pending lawsuits were transferred to the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana for pre-trial proceedings. The purpose of an MDL is to provide a consolidated mechanism to conduct discovery and avoid the expense of individual discovery for each and every case. There are advantages and disadvantages to the MDL system. Likewise, there are fans and detractors of the system. This debate is on-going and probably best left to legal commentators at this point. The transfer order can be found here.

As with all MDLs related to prescription medications, such as Yaz/ Yasmin, the court will address the discovery process in a similar manner. Of course, each case has its own issues that will be decided as the case progresses and will affect how the case is handled.

Missouri and Illinois who were diagnosed with bladder cancer while taking Actos may have multiple options where they are able to file a lawsuit despite this action by the courts. There are many state court actions pending as well. The location of your lawsuit will depend on a number of factors, including where you live, who prescribed the medication and when you took the medication.

While lawsuits alleging the use of Actos in certain individuals may cause bladder cancer are increasing in number, the manufacturer has not recalled the medication nor has the FDA required the manufacturer to recall the drug.

Mike Sudekum is a trial attorney licensed in Missouri and Illinois. If you have questions about the Actos litigation, please contact him for more information.