Avandia Named in Texas Wrongful Death Suit

GlaxoSmithKline is facing yet another <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/avandia">Avandia lawsuit, this time for the alleged wrongful death of a Texas man. The Avandia lawsuit claims the fatal heart attacked suffered by James Michael Knight in 2009 was the result of his taking the controversial diabetes drug.

The lawsuit file by the family and estate of James Michael Knight names SmithKline Beecham Corp., GlaxoSmithKline and SmithKline Beecham Corp. doing business as GlaxoSmithKline as defendants. It accuses the companies of knowing Avandia could cause serious adverse health effects but failing to adequately warning of the risks associated with its use. The plaintiffs are seeking wrongful death damages, survivor damages and exemplary damages.

Other charges in the lawsuit, which was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, include negligence and strict products liability for failing to adequately and properly test and inspect Avandia, failing to use a reasonably safe design, failing to manufacture the drug in a safe condition, and failing to properly label the drug.

Avandia is in a class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones, or TZDs. It is intended to be used in conjunction with diet and exercise to improve glucose (blood sugar) control in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Its active ingredient is available in combination with other diabetes medications, metformin under the brand name Avandamet or glimepiride under the brand name Avandaryl.

Avandia’s heart risks have been known since November 2007, when a black box warning – the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) strongest safety alert – detailing its association with myocardial ischemia was added to its label. Then last year, the FDA restricted sales of Avandia, as well Avandamet and Avandaryl, after concluding their association with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes outweighed the drugs’ benefits for most patients. At the same time, regulators in Europe announced that sales of Avandia and related drugs would be suspended.

GlaxoSmithKline and the other defendants have been named in hundreds of product liability lawsuits since Avandia’s heart risks were first revealed in 2007. In January, GlaxoSmithKline announced it had reached an agreement to settle 5,000 U.S. Avandia lawsuits totaling $250 million, which averages out to about $46,000 each to each plaintiff.

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