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More Avandia lawsuits settled, remaining to be scheduled for trial

Filed February 16th, 2012 Joshua Sophy

More than 25,000 more lawsuits claiming serious side effects were the result of taking the type 2 diabetes drug Avandia were reached out of a federal court this week.

According to a Bloomberg report, lawyers representing both sides of a multitude of lawsuits claiming Avandia led to serious side effects like heart failure, heart disease, and strokes, told a federal judge they have reached preliminary settlement terms on 25,000 claims. Judge Cynthia Rufe, overseeing the massive Multidistrict Litigation (MDL), hailed the settlement as “a major sucess” in the progress of moving the claims through the courts.

Rufe also announced that no more settlements would be reached and the remaining claims which could not be settled out-of-court will now be scheduled for trial. It is likely many of the remaining lawsuits will not reach a jury, according to the report.

In November, Rufe was faced with tens of thousands of claims consolidated in her court. She ordered a mediator and lawyers on both sides of the claims to reach a settlement on 85 percent of the lawsuits. The remaining would be readied for trial. Bloomberg suggests as many as 50,000 Avandia side effects lawsuits have now been settled out-of-court.

GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Avandia, announced it set aside $3 billion this year to handle damage claims from people who were prescribed the once top-selling diabetes drug in the world but suffered fatal or life-threatening side effects, or from people who believe the company hid data which noted this risk from regulators and the public.

Avandia had dominated the drug market as a treatment for controlling blood glucose levels of type 2 diabetes sufferers. In the summer of 2010, the Food and Drug Administration cited numerous studies, including a failed clinical trial which tried to highlight the benefits of the drug, in severely restricting access to Avandia. Now, patients taking Avandia must do so as a last-ditch effort to control blood glucose levels and sign a waiver indicating they are aware of the life-threatening risks associated with use of the drug.

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