GSK agrees to $90 million settlement in state Avandia lawsuits

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by Heygood Orr and Pearson

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to a $90 million settlement with prosecutors in 38 states to settle allegations concerning the illegal marketing of the company’s diabetes drug, Avandia. Attorney Generals in Texas, Florida, and 36 other states accused GSK of intentionally misrepresenting the cardiovascular risks associated with Avandia.

Worries about the health risks associated with Avandia first arose in 2007, after a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine found that Avandia users were much more likely to suffer a heart attack or die from cardiovascular causes than non-users. In November 2011, the Food and Drug Administration voted to restrict sales of Avandia in the US due to the cardiovascular side effects associated with the drug.

GSK’s Avandia settlement follows a similar $3 billion settlement also concerning Avandia that was reached with the federal government last year. As part of the earlier settlement, GSK pleaded guilty to illegally marketing and withholding information concerning Avandia and two antidepressants, Wellbutrin and Paxil.