US jury slaps $9 bn fine on drugmakers

Washington: A US federal court jury imposed fines and compensations for a value of some $9 billion on drug manufacturers -- Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and Eli Lilly & Co. -- for their cover-up of the cancer risks found in their diabetes medication Actos.

The jury in Lafayette, Louisiana, ordred Japan's Takeda to pay $6 billion, while its partner Lilly, based in Indianpolis, Indianapolis, Indiana, was handed a penalty of $3 billion.

"I hope Takeda executives in Japan heard what this jury had to say loudly and clearly," Mark Lanier, a lawyer representing former Actos user Terrence Allen, said.

The jury had already awarded $1.5 billion in compensatory damages to Allen, who blamed the medication for developing his cancer of the bladder.

The judgment is one of the largest in the history of the US, but will probably be reduced because the Supreme Court has ruled that punitive damages should be proportional to compensatory damages.

In the previous 10 cases with the largest punitive damages, no company has paid the amounts requested by this jury.

Takeda, the biggest drugmaker in Japan and one of the 15 largest in the world, expressed in a communique its disagreement with the ruling. The company said it would appeal the sentence, while Lilly, its partner, issued a similar statement separately.

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