Japan’s biggest drugs-maker Takeda Pharmaceutical says it will fight a huge $US6.
0 billion ($A6.49 billion) damages order following a US trial over the safety of its Actos diabetes medicine.
The company said on Tuesday it “respectfully disagrees” with the judgment awarded by a jury in the southern state of Louisiana on Monday, which also ordered the firm’s co-defendant US drugs firm Eli Lilly to pay $US3.0 billion in damages.
Investors dumped the Japanese firm’s Tokyo-listed shares which fell 5.16 per cent to Y4,572 yen on Tuesday.
The issue at the trial, which began in February, was whether the drug could be blamed for bladder cancer in a plaintiff who was taking the medicine, and whether the firm knew about those risks, with other US cases still pending.
“Takeda respectfully disagrees with the verdict and we intend to vigorously challenge this outcome through all available legal means, including possible post-trial motions and an appeal,” Kenneth Greisman, senior vice president and general counsel for Takeda’s US unit, said in a statement.
“We believe the evidence did not support a finding that Actos caused (the plaintiff’s) bladder cancer. We also believe we demonstrated that Takeda acted responsibly with regard to Actos.”
While Takeda rang up about half its $US15.0 billion sales last fiscal year in Japan, North America and Europe are also major markets and the firm has operations around the world.
Eli Lilly had partnered with Takeda to help market the drug in the US.
Actos – a prescription medication launched in 2010 to improve blood sugar control in adults with Type 2 diabetes – had been a promising drug for Takeda, which was recently forced to cancel development of another diabetes treatment because of safety concerns.
But sales of the medicine – also sold as Pioglitazone – have plunged. They fell 73 per cent in the nine months to December from the same period a year earlier, according to Takeda’s latest financial statements.
The drug is banned in France.
The US judgment comes about a week after former GlaxoSmithKline executive Christophe Weber was installed as Takeda’s chief operating officer, one of the few foreign-born managers to sit in the top ranks of a Japanese firm. He is expected to become president in June.