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US jury hits Takeda, Eli Lilly with $9 bln penalty

– A U.S. jury ordered Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and Eli Lilly to pay $9 billion in punitive damages over a diabetes medicine linked to cancer, but Japan’s biggest drugmaker said Tuesday it will “vigorously challenge” the decision.

The District Court, Western District Louisiana, ordered a $6 billion penalty for Takeda and $3 billion for its business partner and co-defendant Eli Lilly. It also decided $1.5 million in compensatory damages in favor of the plaintiff.

The legal fight turned on whether Actos, which is a drug used to treat type-two diabetes, caused a patient’s bladder cancer and by implication was responsible for other cases of the cancer.

Kenneth Greisman, a general counsel at Takeda, said in a statement that the company disagrees with the verdict and that the evidence did not support the causal link between Actos and bladder cancer.

“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,” said Greisman.

Punitive damages are often reduced on appeal.

Greisman said he empathized with the plaintiff but the drug did not cause his cancer.

The drug comes with warnings about serious side effects, including liver problems, broken bones and higher risk of bladder cancer.

Osaka-based Takeda shares tanked on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, closing down 5.2 percent.

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