June 1st, 2011
SC Attorney General's Office sues maker of Avandia
Spartanburg Herald Journal
Alleging a widespread pattern of fraudulent behavior, the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office earlier this month sued the maker of diabetes drug Avandia seeking damages and penalties in addition to recouping millions of dollars paid for the drug and spent treating its side effects.
The lawsuit filed in 7th Judicial Circuit Court in Spartanburg claims that GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Avandia, used false and illegal marketing, exaggerated the drug’s effectiveness and hid its risks beginning when the drug was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1999.
Despite an awareness of a significant association between use of Avandia and heart attacks, GSK continued to market the drug heavily without warning about the cardiovascular risks, the suit alleges.
According to the suit, the company “perpetuated its fraudulent scheme to defraud the state” and “bilked the state out of millions of dollars by making false representations that Avandia was better at lowering blood sugar than existing medications.”
The state attorney general’s office declined additional comment on the Avandia case beyond the content of the lawsuit.
The suit seeks penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation of the state’s Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Several other state attorneys general have filed similar lawsuits against GSK related to Avandia.
A lawsuit represents one side of a legal argument, and the company rejects South Carolina’s allegations.
“GlaxoSmithKline stands behind the safety and efficacy of Avandia when used appropriately and according to its label,” spokeswoman Mary Anne Rhyne said in a statement.