Jury's out in Las Vegas after 3-month trial over Actos cancer risks

In federal court in Las Vegas, a trial over the cancer risks of Takeda's Actos drug wrapped up Tuesday, leaving the jury to decide whether the diabetes remedy triggered the plaintiffs' disease--and if so, how much they should collect from the Japanese drugmaker.

The plaintiffs have said they deserve $60 million in damages--and punitive damages in the billions.

The three-month trial pitted the bladder cancer claims of two women in their eighties, Delores Cipriano and Bertha Triana, against Takeda and its former blockbuster drug. The Japanese company contends that Actos did not cause the women's cancer and that it adequately warned of the drug's risks.

It's the latest in a series of cases alleging that Actos triggered bladder cancer in its users. Though juries have ruled against the company in several cases, Takeda has aggressively fought the verdicts. Judges have tossed jury decisions, and at least one appeals court judge threw out a lower court's ruling.

Just last month, a federal jury in Louisiana awarded an eye-watering $9 billion in damages to a man who claimed his bladder cancer was caused by Actos. The ruling slapped Takeda with $6 billion of that, and marketing partner Eli Lilly ($LLY) with the rest. The company says it will fight the awards.

At the state level, Takeda has fought off three lawsuits so far. Juries in two state-level cases levied a total of $8.2 million in damages to Actos patients who later developed bladder cancer, but the judges in both suits threw out the decisions. A third jury determined that Takeda did not fail to warn about Actos risks. And last week, a Chicago jury determined that Actos was not responsible for a man's bladder cancer. Hundreds more state-level lawsuits remain, however.

- see the Las Vegas Review-Journal story