Avandia Lawsuit Settled by GlaxoSmithKline Day Before Scheduled Trial
On January 31, British drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline settled a U.S. federal court case involving popular diabetes drug Avandia the day before it was scheduled to go to trial. The lawsuit claimed the medication led to a North Carolina man's death after he suffered a heart attack following use of the drug.
The family of James Burford, who died in 2006, said that his death could have been prevented if GlaxoSmithKline had accurately warned consumers about the risks associated with Avandia. The case would have been the first Avandia lawsuit to go to trial in federal court.
"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," the company said in a statement. "GlaxoSmithKline continues to stand behind the safety and efficacy of Avandia when used appropriately and according to its label."
Since its approval in the U.S. in 1998, Avandia has been used to treat type 2 diabetes by controlling high blood sugar levels. The Food and Drug Administration has since issued a black box warning for the drug, informing patients about the increased risk of congestive heart failure and heart attacks. European regulators have withdrawn Avandia from the market.
In 2007, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that Avandia may increase the risk of heart attack by 43 percent. Avandia has also been associated with severe side effects such as bone fractures, changes in vision, fatigue and anemia.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, for every 60 people taking Avandia for a year, there's an extra heart attack, stroke, heart failure or death.
GlaxoSmithKline still faces thousands of lawsuits and has already paid $460 million to settle cases filed by approximately 10,000 people. The drug maker has also been charged $3.4 billion to pay for expenses associated with litigation costs and federal investigations.
Feb 03, 2011