Glaxo to Settle Avandia Cases with $250 Million
The average settlement cost per plaintiff comes to around $46,000, but it would have been closer to $1 million if the evidence were strong enough to prove that heart attacks were definitely caused by Avandia.
Glaxo was supposed to go on its very first trial last week over claims that the drug killed one of its users. By fishing out $250 million, Glaxo conveniently avoids potentially exposing the drug’s deadly consequences.
Plaintiffs allege that before the settlement, Glaxo hid Avandia’s serious health risks, such as heart attacks and stroke, from doctors and patients. The drugmaker has faced these allegations by agreeing to pay $460 million.
In an attempt to make more amends, Glaxo is also issuing a new drug label, which now warns that Avandia is only intended for diabetic patients already using the drug, or for patients who can’t control their blood sugar with other diabetes medication.
This new label really narrows down the number of people who are allowed to take Avandia. In fact, the reported numbers for Avandia patients has plummeted from 600,000 to a current number of 100,000. And if you think of it, those numbers paint quite a disturbing picture: only 5,500 cases have been settled, yet nearly 500,000 people who previously took Avandia were at risk if they took it.
Kudos to Glaxo for settling these cases and issuing appropriate warnings. But why wait so long to do it? Cynics might say it was to squeeze every last dime out of the drug in its original iteration before finally relenting and doing the right thing- but are they cynics or realists?