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Jury returns $9 billion punitive damage verdict in products case

A pharmaceutical company has been ordered to pay $6 billion of a $9 billion verdict in punitive damages for marketing a drug that was claimed to have carcinogenic effects.  The two companies named in the lawsuit must also pay the injured individual, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer, $1.475 million in compensatory damages.

The plaintiff in this matter reportedly had been taking Actos for years.  While the defendants are said to have known of risks associated with taking this drug, it is claimed that these companies failed to take steps to warn doctors and consumers of these risks.

Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly were named in this lawsuit as defendants.  Takeda was said to have generated close to $4.5 billion concerning sales of Actos.  As Actos accounted for 27 percent of Takeda's overall revenue, it was considered "vital" to Takeda's business.  Takeda was accused of destroying documents possibly pertaining to this matter after a "document order" had been put in place.

The jury in this matter ruled that Takeda and Eli Lilly "acted with wanton and reckless disregard for their patients' safety."  This in turn allowed for the jury to award punitive damages.

When talking about the kind of damages at stake in defective products claims such as this, experienced products liability attorneys should be consulted.  While the verdict here appears to be favorable to the injured parties, the case is not yet over.  There will be efforts by Takeda and Eli Lilly to have this verdict reversed.  They may appeal a variety of other issues as well that could keep this case tied up for months or even years.

We need to hold manufacturers accountable for marketing defective products because ultimately these items can badly sicken or injure consumers.

Source: Ring of Fire, "Massive Punitive Damages Ordered in Most Recent Actos Verdict," Ciara Wheeler, April 17, 2014

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