The judge overseeing the lawsuits claiming that Takeda Pharmaceutical’s Actos Type 2 Diabetes medicine causes cancer is continuing to more forward. The judge has now appointed 19 plaintiffs’ lawyers to manage litigation involving the U.S. claims.
According to a report from Bloomberg News, some legal experts believe that Takeda may face as many as 10,000 claims that Actos causes bladder cancer after U.S. regulators found last year the drug was linked to the disease. Federal lawsuits against the drugmaker were consolidated before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty in Lafayette, Louisiana, in December.
Doherty named attorneys Richard Arsenault and Paul Pennock as lead plaintiffs’ counsel in the case and also appointed them to the executive committee, along with lawyers Mark Robinson and Hunter Shkolnik.
Arsenault, a products-liability lawyer based in Alexandria, Louisiana, served as one of the lead lawyers in consolidated cases filed against Merck & Co. (MRK) over its Vioxx painkiller that resulted in a $4.85 billion settlement in November 2007.
Pennock, a New York-based attorney, was one of the lawyers leading the consolidated suits against AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) over its Seroquel antipsychotic drug. The London-based drugmaker agreed last year to pay a total of about $350 million to resolve patients’ claims that the drug caused diabetes.
The Los Angeles-based Robinson, who has won multimillion- dollar jury awards against carmakers such as Ford Motor Co., is a co-lead counsel in sudden-acceleration lawsuits against Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)
Shkolnik, based in New York City, served as a member of the plaintiffs’ steering committee in lawsuits against Medtronic Inc. (MDT) over flawed heart defibrillators. The cases later settled for more than $114 million.
Other lawyers named to the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the Actos cases include Mark Lanier, a Texas-based lawyer who won the first jury award against Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based Merck in the Vioxx litigation, and Chris Seeger, a New Jersey-based attorney who also won a verdict against Merck on behalf of Vioxx users.
The judge also named Andy Birchfield, an Alabama-based lawyer who helped negotiate the $4.85 billion Vioxx settlement, and Vance Andrus, a Lafayette-based lawyer who was one of the lead counsels in cases against GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GS) over its Avandia diabetes drug. The London-based drugmaker has agreed to pay more than $700 million to resolve claims that Avandia caused heart attacks and strokes in users.
When asked for a comment concerning the selection, Takeda spokeswoman, Jocelyn Gerst said in a telephone interview, “Given that litigation is pending, we can’t comment.”