Takeda now 5 for 6 in winning Actos cases, but that loss was a stunner

Except for that one $9 billion verdict, Takeda Pharmaceutical is racking up a good record in defending against lawsuits seeking to hold it responsible for bladder cancer suffered by people who took its diabetes drug Actos. On Thursday it fended off a lawsuit by two women ages, 80 and 81, who wanted $1 billion in actual damages.

Like others they accused the drugmaker of hiding the cancer dangers of taking Actos for diabetes. But a jury felt their case wasn't proved. According to Bloomberg, neither of the women was using the drug when their cancer was diagnosed. Just last week it took a jury less than two hours to come to the same conclusion in the case of a now-deceased Chicago-area man, who developed bladder cancer after taking the drug.

Takeda has now won 5 of 6 cases that have gone to trial, but the one they lost was a stunner. That case, in Louisiana, was the first to reach federal court. The family of a former Actos user sought at least $15 million in damages. The jury members awarded the family only $1.5 million in actual damages but then handed down punitive damages of $6 billion for Takeda and $3 billion for partner Eli Lilly ($LLY).

Takeda is appealing that decision, and those damages are unlikely to stand even if it fails. The Supreme Court has ruled that punitive damages should bear some relationship to actual damages, perhaps 10 times the level. In two other cases in which plaintiffs won much smaller awards over Actos, judges set those aside and found in favor of Takeda, saying lawyers did not prove a link.

- read the Bloomberg story