LAS VEGAS -- Billions are at stake in a civil trial unfolding right here in Las Vegas. Two Las Vegas women who took the diabetes drug Actos are suing the drug maker, Takeda.
They say Actos gave them bladder cancer. Delores Cipriano and Bertha Triana didn't know each other before, but both Las Vegas women are now part of what attorney Robert Eglet hopes to be a landmark civil trial.
"A drug company is not allowed to put profits over patient safety." Eglet said.
Cipriano and Triana are diabetic and their doctors prescribed them the drug Actos to help control their blood sugar. Both women ended up with bladder cancer.
They are blaming and suing Takeda, the company that makes Actos, and Eglet is asking for a multi-billion dollar verdict, the largest in Nevada history.
"We will prove that Takeda knew years before Mrs. Cipriano and Mrs. Triana took Actos that safety signals showed a link between Actos and bladder cancer," Eglet said.
Eglet told the jury in opening statements Monday that Takeda not only knew of the dangers of Actos, but destroyed evidence that incriminated the drug.
The company is mounting a vigorous defense.
"There will be evidence about whether the cause of Mrs. Cipriano and Mrs. Triana's cancer can be determined given their history," Takeda attorney D'Lesli Davis said.
Takeda says it will use science to fight Eglet's efforts to blame the pills for the women's cancer.
"In the world of science, a particular cancer in a particular place, usually you can't find a particular cause," Davis said.
Takeda hopes the jury will clear the company, but Eglet is banking on a message-sending verdict that could cost Takeda tons of money.
Takeda says 70,000 people a year get bladder cancer. The trial could last several weeks, and both women are expected to take the stand.