Rosiglitazone, marketed as Avandia® and manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is an insulin sensitizer drug which makes the fat cells in the body more receptive to insulin. It is, therefore, a highly prescribed anti-diabetic drug for type-2 diabetes. However, studies show that Avandia® may cause strokes and heart attacks in its users. One study, as reported in the LA Times, claims that Avandia® may increase the risk of heart attack related fatalities by about forty three percent.
The cost benefit analysis of Avandia ® with its high success rates in type-2 diabetes and also the increased risk of heart attacks has long been a subject of debate within the regulatory authority i.e. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has concluded that in the balance the drug does more good than harm and is therefore willing to allow it on the market. Critics argue that FDA’s acceptance of increased risk in this case is way too much and the possibility that the drug leads to increased risk of heart attacks is reason enough to take it off the market. Others including a professor at University of North Carolina have claimed to have been pressured against raising questions about the drug.
A US Senate Committee report suggests that GSK was aware of research that showed the increased heart related risk before it began marketing the drug. As a result, the drug has been subject to close scrutiny by medical researchers and tort (i.e. negligence, personal injury, product liability and medical malpractice etc) lawyers alike, leading to thousands of lawsuits and a few federal investigations. Federal prosecutors have been investigating whether GSK was marketing certain drugs for unapproved uses. According to one report as many as thirteen thousand Avandia lawsuits in both federal and state courts have been filed all over the US. Another report claims that this number could exceed twenty thousand, out of which a large number are reportedly being settled through mediation ordered by a Los Angeles court.
The first Avandia lawsuit settlement reported happened in January 2011, when GSK announced that it was settling in the case of James Burford who died in 2006 of a heart attack that may have been caused by Avandia®. Burford died at the age of 49 after taking Avandia® for around fifteen months. Another twenty five hundred lawsuits have been consolidated as multidistrict litigation (MDL) in US Federal District Court in Philadelphia.
Given the time-sensitive and complicated nature of the Avandia® and claims of heart attacks as a result of the use of the drug, it is important to engage a suitable defective drugs and product liability lawyer. A product liability law firm involved in defective drugs litigation has to have the right kind of resources to enable it to research your case in particular.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by Avandia® or any other dangerous drug, contact a dangerous drug lawyer who may be able to help you.