On April 28, 2015, Takeda Pharmaceuticals announced that it would set aside $2.3 billion to settle all pending claims associated with the diabetes drug, Actos. This settlement follows allegations that the drug maker failed to warn doctors of specific known risks that taking Actos could cause a patient to develop bladder cancer. Takeda failed to provide a specific warning about the drug’s cancer risk until 2011, seven years after the risk became apparent to industry experts, and more than 12 years after the drug was first released. More than 8,000 lawsuits were filed nationwide by patients who developed bladder cancer after taking the drug. According to the terms of the settlement, 95% of claimants must agree to participate in the settlement by July 13, 2015 in order for the terms of the agreement to be finalized.
The announcement comes after several Actos cases were tried to juries across the country, with varying results. After several large jury verdicts in state courts, a jury in a Louisiana Federal Court delivered a $9 billion verdict against the Japanese drug maker in October 2014. The jury found that Takeda had engaged in “wanton and reckless disregard” of the health of patients taking Actos. The drug maker not only failed to place proper warning labels on its product, but also elected not to warn prescribing doctors who could have monitored their patients for severe side effects, such as bladder cancer. Although this verdict was large, it was later reduced significantly by the court. Later, a jury considering a similar case in December 2014 delivered a verdict in favor of Takeda. Because of this variation in trial results, it is thought that a large number of the remaining plaintiffs will accept Takeda’s proposed offer to settle their claims out of court.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, healthcare payers will not receive full reimbursement of medical costs associated with the treatment of bladder cancer. Healthcare payers must determine whether they want to participate in the Actos settlement program, or opt out and assert their full lien. The private lien resolution program (PLRP) established by the fund will limit a healthcare payer’s recovery to 30% of the claimant’s gross recovery. On average, a healthcare payer’s recovery under the PLRP will be less than $100,000, which is likely to be significantly less than the total medical expenses incurred to treat a patient for bladder cancer.
In order to seek reimbursement of medical expenses, a healthcare payer must specifically identify all costs associated with Actos and subsequent bladder cancer treatments for each patient, and take steps to preserve its right of reimbursement. Without preserving their rights, payers risk losing hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in potential recoveries.
Healthcare Recovery Solutions has the technology and resources available to identify and recover the maximum amount possible in whichever course of action a healthcare payer wishes to pursue. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.