Glaxo Sued by South Carolina AG Over Avandia Side Effects

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 16, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It seems like South Carolina is out for blood, filing yet another drug lawsuit under the South Carolina Trade Practices Act.

The Attorney General's Office alleges that GlaxoSmithKline misled doctors and patients by exaggerating the effectiveness of its diabetes drug Avandia and hiding the fact that the medication has significantly increased the risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death in tens of thousands of people.

South Carolina's lawsuit primarily focuses on GSK's claims that Avandia was better at reducing blood sugar than any other medication, and that it could actually help reduce the risk of heart attack.

Attention was originally brought to Avandia in 2007 when the New England Journal of Medicine reviewed dozens of studies that linked the drug to heart problems, reports the Associated Press.

In response, the FDA conducted its own review, finding that Avandia had caused 83,000 heart attacks since 1999. As a result, the drug has been severely restricted and outfitted with new warning labels.

South Carolina has filed similar lawsuits against Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, seeking fines for deceptive advertising and defective warning labels in each case, reports the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

It settled with Eli Lilly for $45 million, and late last week, a judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $327 million over its drug Risperdal. The lawsuit against AstraZeneca is still pending.

As for this drug lawsuit, the Associated Press reports that South Carolina is seeking $5,000 per violation plus punitives. These alleged violations includes every single Avandia purchase by the state.

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