The potentially deadly side effects from prescription diabetes drug Actos is liable to cost you a heck of a lot more than just your copay. But the “bill” might not arrive for a couple of years.

Oh, and instead of cash you could be paying for it with your life.

Now this isn’t the first time you’ve seen me lose my cool over a potentially dangerous diabetes drug… far from it, in fact. But the inexcusable—not to mention immoral—actions of two drug companies… and the blood that appears to be on their hands… has me positively fuming once again.

Let me back up just a bit to set the sickening stage.

I started warning you about the diabetes drug Actos side effects years ago. It was around this same time of year way back in 2011 that the drug’s maker, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, sent out some pumped up, over-the-top news releases about new research showing that their star of the drug stable, Actos, wasn’t just good for diabetics, it was also good for anyone with elevated blood sugars.

They claimed Actos may be able to keep you from ever becoming diabetic. In other words, we should start force feeding this stuff to pre-diabetics too.

Actos linked to bladder cancer

Think that’s a bad idea?

With stroke, heart failure, trouble breathing, liver problems, bone fractures and cancer (!) eventually finding themselves onto the list of potential Actos side effects, you’re absolutely right it IS a bad idea. In fact, it may be one of the worst ideas EVER.

That didn’t stop the New York Times and Time magazine from jumping right on the Actos bandwagon, devoting valuable editorial space to coverage of the drug.

But while they were reporting on the “astounding” results showing that Actos “reduces your risk of diabetes by 72 percent!” they totally missed the HUGE elephant standing smack dab in the center of the room. (Or ignored it to tell a more sensational story…you pick.) These findings were based on what amounts to a difference of 35 people.

Yes, they were actually proposing that millions of pre-diabetics start popping a potentially risky drug essentially based on 35 people. Click here to read the rest of the ridiculous story here on the NorthStar Blog.

Now, skip forward in time a couple of months and the Actos story really started to crumble. As I reported to you at that time, a study analyzing adverse event reports had linked the drug (not for the first time) to bladder cancer in what researchers called a “definite risk.” But the study was soft pedaled, and the news made barely a blip in the American mainstream media.

Outside of the United States, countries like France, Germany and India reacted to the shocking cancer news by banning the drug (what I would call a reasonable response). And what did the FDA do? They had the company bury a bladder cancer warning in the labeling insert. (Surprise, surprise.)

But I’m willing to bet if you’re already taking this drug you’ve never even noticed that warning, because, let’s be honest, how many of us get out a magnifying glass and actually read all that tiny type? Heck, many doctors aren’t even aware of the cancer connection. Fewer still bother to mention Actos side effects to their patients when prescribing it.

And that finally brings me to the news that has steam coming out of my ears today.

Dangerous Actos side effects kept secret

A jury has just awarded a bladder-cancer sufferer, and victim of Actos side effects, a huge sum of money for punitive damages, effectively ruling that Takeda Pharmaceuticals and their marketing partner Eli Lilly purposefully withheld vital—potentially life-saving—information about the drug’s cancer risks.

And information wasn’t just withheld, files were actually destroyed in what I dare say any sane person would likely see as an attempt cover things up. In fact, the judge in the case said, “The breadth of Takeda leadership whose files have been lost, deleted or destroyed is, in and of itself, disturbing.”

Not only did the companies know about the link between their superstar drug and bladder cancer, it would appear that they’ve known about it at least since 2000… eleven years before that weak warning limped its way into the drug’s literature!

But that’s not the only thing those rats in suits may have been hiding. According to one brave whistleblower—a former employee of Takeda—the company was likely well aware of at least some of those other serious Actos side effects I mentioned earlier, too. And who knows how many people are now suffering with heart disease or cancer as a result.

Or worse, have lost their battles.

Sure, we all know that profits before people is practically a mantra in the halls of Big Pharma, but seeing just how far they’re willing to go in pursuit of the almighty dollar, somehow still has the power to shock and anger me.

Click here for some advice on how to tackle diabetes without ever going near Actos, or any other potentially dangerous diabetes drug.