GlaxoSmithKline Settles Avandia Lawsuit

February 02, 2011

February 2, 2011 (London, United Kingdom) — GlaxoSmithKline has settled a lawsuit, which had been due to be heard in a Philadelphia court this week, claiming that the diabetes drug rosiglitazone (Avandia) caused the death of a man in 2006. The case had been brought by the family ofJames Burford, aged 49, who had a fatal MI after taking rosiglitazone for 15 months to treat diabetes.  Terms of the settlement have not been revealed.

In a statement, the company said: "There are many circumstances where a company may determine to resolve certain matters in order to avoid the inherent risks and significant costs of litigation." However, GlaxoSmithKline adds that it "continues to stand behind the safety and efficacy of Avandia when used appropriately and according to its label."

Rosiglitazone was once GlaxoSmithKline's second-biggest drug, with sales of $3 billion a year, but its cardiovascular safety profile has been under scrutiny for several years, with claims that it is associated with an increase in MI risk. Last year the drug was withdrawn from the market in Europe and severely restricted in the US. 

According to multiple media reports, Burford's widow alleged that GlaxoSmithKline knew or should have known of the drug's cardiac side effects. Her lawsuit, filed in 2007, claimed failure to warn, breach of warranty, negligence, unfair trade practices, and infliction of emotional distress.

In the second quarter last year, GlaxoSmithKline took a £1.57 billion charge to settle lawsuits related to Avandia but has continued to receive new product-liability cases regarding the product. It is now reporting that another £2.2 billion has been set aside to cover further claims related to Avandia and litigation over sales practices for other products.

The company still faces at least 1600 cases filed in Philadelphia and another 400 in state courts across the US, press reports note.


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