The multidistrict litigation (MDL) against Takeda Pharmaceuticals and their Type 2 diabetes drug, Actos, is taking an interesting step forward with some technological help.
The MDL was originally formed to help consolidate several similar cases against Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which allege that their drug Actos led to bladder cancer. Several studies in the last year show that taking Actos for two years or more increases the patient’s risk of developing bladder cancer. This link led both France and Germany to ban Actos and its generic form, pioglitazone, from their markets in June 2011.
Judge Doherty, who is overseeing the Actos MDL in Western Louisiana, has ordered that both plaintiffs and defendants will now use a system called “predictive coding” to help sort their documents. This controversial computer system, according to Forbes, “is a type of machine-learning technology that enables a computer to help ‘predict’ how documents should be classified based on limited training provided by their human counterparts.”
The Actos MDL is one of four litigations to use this new technology. Since early 2012, Da Silva Moore, et. al. v. Publicis Groupe;Kleen Products, LLC, et. al. v. Packaging Corporation of America; and Aerospace Inc., et al, v. Landow Aviation, L.P. dba Dulles Jet Center have all used predictive coding to sort documents.
Predicitve coding should, in theory, help sort documents and predict which ones, out of thousands, will need to be produced during litigation. However, the system is not widely used by courts, and remains controversial. While the computer system can save law firms thousands, or even millions, of dollars that would otherwise be paid to human document sorters, predictive coding cannot control statistical sampling, which affects document sorting accuracy. It is also, currently, more difficult to use than keyword search, concept search, email threading, and data clustering, which are all tools legal professionals currently use.
According to Forbes, clarifying how predictive coding controls statistical sampling is key. “If the sample is too small or is not random, then estimates regarding the number of responsive documents contained within the population could be wildly inaccurate. Improper sampling could also impact the accuracy of common methods used to measure the performance of the predictive coding tool being used.”
The Actos litigation will be an interesting test of this new system. Both plaintiffs and defendants must work closely to train the system on document relevance, which requires a certain level of transparency that may or may not be appropriate to the case. Judge Doherty’s Order might not require enough transparency for either party to ensure the integrity of the process.
If you or a loved one have Type 2 diabetes and have taken Actos for two or more years to treat the condition, and have since suffered harmful side effects such as bladder cancer, heart disease, liver failure, or diabetic macular edema, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Strom Law, LLC can help. We are now accepting cases nationwide against Actos and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, so contact us today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.