Drugmaker plots another way to up sales of deadly diabetes med

I’ve warned you before about how the diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone) has been linked to countless cases of bladder cancer and has been the target of thousands of lawsuits.

And how its maker Takeda Pharmaceuticals has been accused of destroying emails, computer hard drives and papers that may have proved the company knew Actos was a death sentence for anyone who took it.

One lawyer claimed that if all the destroyed evidence had been printed on paper, it could have filled a football stadium.

But just as Takeda was settling another $2 billion worth of Actos lawsuits in America a couple months ago, it was quietly plodding ahead with its “Plan B” for the drug.

A dangerous new strategy that could expose you… and millions of others…to Actos’ potentially deadly risks. Whether you have diabetes or not.

A billion-dollar makeover
German researchers just announced a study claiming that taking Actos could help you prevent dementia and even Alzheimer’s. They even said their research proved that the drug helps shield the neurons in your brain from damage.

But this wasn’t some brain-health breakthrough. Nor was it the silver bullet Alzheimer’s cure that Big Pharma has been chasing for years.

It was the latest step in Takeda’s plan to reverse Actos’ sagging sales by creating new uses for the drug. Even if it puts millions more lives at stake.

Lawsuits and bad publicity surrounding Actos have forced the drug’s sales to plummet, and Takeda has spent years trying to recover those lost billions. And the company thinks it’s struck gold positioning Actos as an Alzheimer’s pill.

You see, there’s less competition selling Alzheimer’s drugs, even though the market is worth a fortune. And if you market Actos to prevent Alzheimer’s, people have to buy it for years before they know if it worked.

It’s a world-class scam that’s going to leave plenty of otherwise healthy people with cancer. But the notion that Actos might prevent or delay Alzheimer’s has had Takeda rushing it into clinical trials all over the U.S.

Healthy seniors aged 65 to 83 who don’t have diabetes are being recruited for something called the TOMORROW study (which in itself is an irony). They’re being asked to step up to the plate and “contribute to scientific discovery” by seeing if Actos lowers their Alzheimer’s risk.

Give me a break. Takeda is asking innocent people to become drug guinea pigs and pop a pill that may kill them — all to prevent a brain disease many of them wouldn’t have developed in the first place.

And, of course, you have to wonder whether these research volunteers will ever be warned about all the risks of Actos… or that they’re putting their lives in the hands of a company that may have knowingly given people cancer and then tried to hide the evidence.

Of course, the real irony behind Takeda’s efforts to put a fresh new face on Actos will be on full display in Nevada this summer.

This August, a Las Vegas jury will hear the cases of two more men who developed bladder cancer while on Actos — one of them has already died.

And right down the road, in the same city, a new crop of unsuspecting seniors will be duped into taking the drug as part of the TOMORROW trials.

The only question now is how many tomorrows those seniors have left.

“Wanted: Volunteers for study in preventing Alzheimer’s” Robin Erb, June 13, 2015, Detroit Free Press, freep.com

“Diabetes medication reduces dementia risk” June 23, 2015, Public Release, EurekAlert!, eurekalert.org