As the lawsuits continue to pile up over Avandia heart problems, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is attempting to negotiate thousands of potential settlement agreements with individuals who claim to have been injured by the diabetes drug. At least 5,300 state court Avandia cases are still pending, and that number is expected to rise as new lawsuits continue to be filed. Unlike an Avandia class action lawsuit, each claim against GSK is an individual mass tort claim that must be resolved on its own merit.
What’s the problem?
May 6, 2011 – In the midst of a groundswell of lawsuits surrounding its controversial diabetes drug Avandia, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is hard at work trying to negotiate thousands of potential settlement agreements with patients who allege to have been injured by the drug.
In 2010, GSK announced that it had reached agreements to settle more than 10,000 lawsuits, with average payouts ranging between $46,000 and $70,000 a piece. However, that still leaves at least 5,300 cases unresolved in state courts. As well, scores of new complaints continue to be filed against the company, the latest of which was filed on May 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of a 61-year-old woman who suffered a cardiac death after taking Avandia for nearly a decade.
Rather than negotiating a class action lawsuit to resolve all the Avandia claims against the company, GSK has been attempting to negotiate small group settlements with Avandia lawyers representing large numbers of claimants. Some experts believe that Avandia may be responsible for as many as 60,000 – 200,000 heart attacks and deaths nationwide between 1996 and 2006.
Avandia Side Effects
First approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999, Avandia is an oral medication used in the treatment of type-2 diabetes. Avandia is designed to improve the body’s control of blood sugar levels by making cells throughout the body more receptive to insulin. It is one of GSK’s top-selling drugs, and has been prescribed to approximately 10 million patients nationwide since being approved. Unfortunately, despite being an effective anti-diabetes medication, the following side effects have been reported in a high number of Avandia users:
- congestive heart failure
- heart attack
- macular edema
- bone fractures
- hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
- liver dysfunction
- severe allergic reaction
- upper respiratory tract infection