Momentum appears to be building towards more Avandia lawsuit settlements. Bloomberg News is reporting that GlaxoSmithKline, maker of the controversial diabetes drug, is close to resolving about 1,000 Avandia lawsuits now pending in state courts.
During a hearing in the Philadelphia federal court where 1,600 Avandia lawsuits have been consolidated, a plaintiff’s attorney told the judge overseeing those cases that settlement talks in Los Angeles state court have resolved about 2,400 cases, while 200 in Philadelphia state court and an undetermined number of cases in Illinois are close to settlement.
There are currently around 5,300 Avandia lawsuits pending in state courts around the country, Bloomberg said. The lawsuits claim Glaxo failed to adequately warn Avandia users about its association with heart attacks and strokes.
According to Bloomberg, Glaxo has spent at least $700 million over the last eight months to resolve about 12,000 Avandia lawsuits. The drugmaker has set aside more than $6 billion for legal costs tied to Avandia and other medications
Several Avandia lawsuits are set to go to trial in the next year, Bloomberg said. Those include two in November in California and New Mexico, and another in New Mexico scheduled for March 2012.
According to a report from Newsinferno.com, Avandia’s heart risks have been known since November 2007, when a black box warning – the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) strongest safety alert – detailing its association with myocardial ischemia was added to its label. Then last September, the FDA restricted sales of Avandia, as well Avandamet and Avandaryl, after concluding their association with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes outweighed the drugs’ benefits for most patients. At the same time, regulators in Europe announced that sales of Avandia and related drugs would be suspended.
After U.S. and European regulators took those actions, Glaxo stopped promoting Avandia. According to Bloomberg, since those restrictions were imposed, sales of Avandia – once the world’s best selling diabetes drug – have fallen 43 percent.