GlaxoSmithKline recently settled a case brought by the family of a North Carolina man who alleged that he died of a heart attack caused by its diabetes drug, Avandia. The amount of the settlement is confidential. The trial was to be the first of approximately 2,000 arising out of heart attacks alleged to have been caused by Avandia.
The company is obviously concerned about these lawsuits and has braced for a serious economic hit. Over the past twelve months, it has taken charges totaling almost $6.5 billion to cover expenses for investigations and suits over the drug. But in addition to the financial hit, Glaxo has said that it would stop promoting Avandia worldwide, after it was withdrawn in Europe and sales were limited in the United States.
The settlement, and lawsuits, represent only one aspect of Glaxo’s problems with Avandia: last year Glaxo agreed to pay almost half a billion dollars for claims alleging that it hid Avandia’s risks. And Federal prosecutors in Colorado continue to investigate whether Glaxo promoted the drug for unapproved uses