The first Avandia case set for trial against drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) settled for an undisclosed amount. The pharmaceutical litigation case was brought against GSK after new studies of Avandia revealed that using the drug could increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
No details of the settlement or the terms were announced except a statement indicating that the details of the settlement were to remain confidential. And while GSK would not indicate how many plaintiffs were involved in the recent settlement, according to reports by Deutsche Bank, as many as 5,000 claims for damages were reportedly consolidated in this Philadelphia case.
If the alleged number of settled claims is correct, then this could mean that GSK has settled almost half of the pending Avandia claims. Analysts have been evaluating the progress of GSK’s Avandia lawsuits and had originally estimated there to be around 13,000 claims against GSK that would take around $6 billion in total to settle. While GSK has yet to confirm the actual numbers in any of the Avandia cases, according to a recent Reuters’s article by Ben Hirschler, the recent developments indicate that GSK’s final payout would be considerably less. New estimates indicated that the final payout might be close to $1.1 billion instead of the $6.6 billion originally anticipated.
It will be interesting to see whether GSK plans to settle the next set of claims, which is scheduled for an October 2010 trial in Philadelphia. To date it has not settled any of its multi-district litigation claims that are pending in federal court.
Prior to the May 2007 Avandia study that first suggested Avandia increased the risk of strokes and heart attacks amongst its users, the diabetic medication resulted in multi-billion dollar annual sales. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel is evaluating Avandia’s safety for diabetic patients.
A recent study in Lancet suggests that instead of pulling the drug completely from the market that diabetics could still benefit from taking a low-dose of Avandia. However, there are many within the medical community that feel that Avandia is dangerous and that no dose is safe, no matter how low. For more information on this development, see Courtney Hutchinson’s story, “Can Low-Dose Avandia for Diabetes Avoid Lethal Side Effects?: Testing a Low-Dose Avandia ‘Cocktail’ Shows Promise, but Some Doctors Say Pull Drug From Market.
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