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GlaxoSmithKline maker of the diabetes drug, Avandia, announced today that it has settled more of the suits over the drug which many sources say led to a much increased risk of heart attack.
Reuters news service reports that the consolidated Avandia lawsuits, slated to be heard in the first trial concerning the diabetes drug in the U.S., were scheduled to go to court on June 1, but were settled instead. Company spokeswoman Claire Brough sent an emailed statement confirming the action. "We can confirm that the case that was scheduled for the first trial in state court in Philadelphia, for June 1, 2010, has been settled." The next state case against GSK over Avandia is scheduled for October, 2010. The company has not settled the multi-district litigation still pending in federal court.
According to Reuters, the pharmaceutical company is keeping the terms of the settlement confidential and will also not confirm how many claims were settled. In May, Bloomberg reported that more than 700 Avandia suits were settled for about $86,000 each. This amount was lower than the approximately $500,000 predicted. Analysts believe that those earlier settlements, combined with the current claims, indicate the company may have less liability than first feared. "This implies that close to half of the cases have now been settled and should ease some fears about Vioxx-type liabilities," said Deutsche Bank analyst Mark Clark.
Avandia is no longer a major product for GSK. After a highly critical Senate report was published in February, the company continues to be dogged by fears of increasing claims and liability. The FDA will convene an advisory panel in July to consider possible further restrictions on the drug.