When Doing the Right Thing is Wrong

Here is a riddle:

Fact #1: Controlling your diabetes by taking medications to regulate blood glucose levels is good for you.

Fact #2: Some medications that regulate blood glucose levels for diabetic patients cause bladder cancer.

Fact #3: Bladder cancer is, without a doubt, bad for you.

Fact #4: Failing to properly regulate your blood glucose levels is, without a doubt, bad for you.

Think you can find your way out of this one?

The riddle becomes even harder to solve when drug manufacturers fail to disclose the associated risk of their products. Take the drug manufacturer Takeda Pharmeceuticals, hinted at in Fact #2. One of Takeda’s diabetes blood glucose level-regulating products, Actos, has an alarming associated risk of bladder cancer; however, the risk was hidden from doctors and their patients.

Let’s see what the riddle above looks like for diabetes patients who are totally unaware of their risk for Fact #2 and #3: regulating blood glucose levels is good; failing to regulate blood glucose levels is bad. No wonder diabetic patients unable to regulate their blood glucose levels on their own turned to Actos – it seemed obvious! With their doctors, the patients looked at the sea of information and riddles in the health care world and found an answer that seemed to make sense for their health – they solved the riddle and did what they thought was the “right” thing to do! The patients walked away from their doctors’ offices, Actos prescription in hand thinking they were doing the right thing; they took their Actos prescription to the pharmacy thinking they were doing the right thing; they swallowed the Actos drug daily thinking they were doing the right thing – and then they repeated the process, until some patients found themselves sick with not just type II diabetes but also bladder cancer.

The Actos lawsuit alleges that Takeda Pharmeceutical failed to sufficiently disclose the associated risks of the Actos drug, in turn leaving patients and their doctors in the dark about the patient’s 40 percent increased risk of bladder cancer compared to patients taking other diabetes medications. More to the point, in line with the harsh warnings issued by the FDA, the Actos lawsuit brings an additional fact to the table, Fact # 5 – one that would have significantly helped patients and their doctors solve their diabetes management riddle.

Fact #5: Patients who have had bladder cancer, or are at an increased risk for developing bladder cancer, should never use the Actos drug to help regulate their blood glucose levels and should instead chose another drug.

Fact #5 helps make things much more clear, right?

Taking care of your health shouldn’t have to involve rocket science – a trap of deciding which “bad” is worse. Instead, all of the available information must be available to patients and their doctors, so that they can make the best decision and do the real right thing for their health. That’s a fact our Actos lawyers live by.

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