MADISON, Wisc. — A Wisconsin judge has found that there was not enough evidence to show that Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. should be held liable for evidence spoliation in one of their many lawsuits regarding their diabetes drug, Actos.

Despite it being known that Takeda did destroy documents, the judge ruled that the destruction of these documents was not done in anticipation of potential future bladder cancer lawsuits and that the drugmaker did not knowingly destroy documents related to the health risks of Actos.

According to the judge’s opinion, most of the documents were destroyed before 2010, and only one file was destroyed after 2010, but the plaintiff who brought the motion had not proven that the drug maker knew of any link between the file and the litigation.

The judge stated that he was not able to conclude “that Takeda knew or should have known that bladder cancer litigation was a ‘distinct possibility.’”

According to the judge’s opinion, although Takeda had issued a litigation hold in 2002, this hold was limited to liver complications, and the pharmaceutical company issued another hold in 2011, which they would not have had to do if the 2002 hold had actually applied more broadly than to liver failure risks.

This judge’s decision is drastically different from other court rulings, where Takeda has been found to have knowingly destroyed documents, such as in a recent case where the drug maker was ordered to pay $155,000 in damages just for purging documents.

Many other Actos bladder cancer cases, however, are being decided in favor of the plaintiff. Most recently, a Philadelphia jury awarded a former Actos user with $3.65 million in damages in his case against Takeda.

The plaintiff was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2009, after he had been taking Actos for his diabetes for four years. The bladder cancer risks associated with Actos were not made public until 2011. This case is only one of several thousand Actos lawsuits against Takeda, alleging similar injuries, especially that taking Actos resulted in the plaintiff developing bladder cancer and that Takeda marketed their diabetes drug while they hid its serious, known risks.

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