It's official: Takeda to pay a 'bargain' $2.3B to settle Actos lawsuits

Takeda is preparing to pony up $2.3 billion to settle lawsuits accusing the Japanese pharma of hiding diabetes med Actos' cancer risks. But according to some experts, that's a steal.

If the company's directors sign off on the deal, it'll wipe the legal slate clean of 8,000 suits and offer a payment exceeding $287,000 per case to those who sign up for the settlement program, Bloomberg reports. Former Actos patients looking for more compensation will be able to continue litigating their claims.

"It's a good deal for Takeda," University of Michigan professor Erik Gordon told the news service. "Given the apparent strength of the cases, the plaintiffs probably deserved more compensation than this deal offers."

The $2.3 billion only just tops the $2.2 billion Takeda reportedly offered earlier this month--a figure Gordon said at the time would be "a bargain." Plaintiffs' lawyers spearheading the litigation held out for more money, leading Takeda to raise the offer--but lawyers for some patients may still object to the agreement, Bloomberg says.

Still, it makes other side-effect settlements look small in comparison, the news service points out, citing the more than $1 billion Bayer shelled out to take care of suits claiming its Yasmin birth-control pill line cause blood clots.

Actos was once the star of Takeda's' lineup, raking in $4.5 billion in peak sales to generate 27% of the company's revenue. Since then, though, the company has faced at least 9 trials over claims it covered up the therapy's cancer risks--including a Louisiana trial resulting in a $9 billion verdict against Takeda and marketing partner Eli Lilly ($LLY). That total was later reduced by more than 99%, however, and other damage awards against the drugmaker have been tossed or are on appeal.

While the company has so far dodged serious damages, it's still ironing out its business in the wake of Actos' patent expiration. Takeda--led by new CEO Christophe Weber--is in the middle of a worldwide restructuring, but sales and profits won't start growing again until next year, the helmsman said in February.

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