A Henderson woman testified Tuesday that she never would have taken the diabetes drug Actos if she had known it could cause bladder cancer.
Delores Cipriano, 81, said no one ever informed her about such a risk.
“If they did, I would have really paid attention,” she said.
Cipriano, who has had diabetes for 20 years, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in July 2012.
She and Las Vegas resident Bertha Triana, 80, each filed lawsuits last year in Clark County District Court against Takeda Pharmaceuticals, a Japanese company that makes the prescription drug pioglitazone under the trade name Actos. Both women claim their bladder cancer was caused by the medication.
Their cases were consolidated, and District Judge Kerry Earley is presiding over the trial, which began with jury selection on Feb. 10.
Cipriano’s lawyer, Robert Eglet, said he plans to seek a multibillion-dollar verdict, which would be the largest in Nevada history.
Earlier this month, a Louisiana jury ordered Takeda to pay $6 billion in punitive damages in another case involving Actos.
Thousands of plaintiffs across the country have filed product liability lawsuits against the drug maker. The company is accused of failing to inform consumers and medical professionals about the risk of bladder cancer associated with the use of Actos, which went on sale in the United States in 1999.
In June 2011, the Food and Drug Administration issued a safety announcement stating that use of Actos for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer.
“I remember taking it over a year,” Cipriano told jurors.
But records produced in the case only document prescriptions covering about 150 days of use, during time periods from August 2010 to July 2011.
Cipriano said she was sent for tests after she noticed blood in her urine, and her doctor later informed her about the results.
“He called me on the phone and told me I had bladder cancer, and I didn’t think anybody could say that on the phone to you,” she testified, her voice quivering.
Cipriano said she was upset about learning the news over the phone, and she called each of her five sons, who tried to console her.
“It was hard to calm down,” she recalled.
Cipriano said she went through two surgeries before her doctor told her the cancer was gone.
“He said it could come back without any warning,” she added.
Cipriano, who lives in a senior community, said physical and emotional limitations have prevented her from doing many of the activities she did before she had cancer.
The woman, a widow and retired housekeeper, has lived in Clark County for nearly 40 years.
According to Triana’s lawsuit, she was diagnosed with bladder cancer in May 2012 after taking Actos for about two years. She previously testified at the trial.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-384-8710. Find her on Twitter: @CarriGeer.