More Avandia Lawsuits Filed In Illinois

More <"">Avandia lawsuits have been filed, this time, in Illinois. Most recently, we wrote that eight plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Texas against GlaxoSmithKline, maker of the once-popular diabetes medication.

The two Illinois plaintiffs allege that GlaxoSmithKline should not have sold Avandia with no warning about its potentially significant side effects, such as the heart attacks and congestive heart failure from which they suffered, wrote the Madison-St. Clair Record.

LeMario Holton of Illinois and Rita Catherine Rieger of Delaware filed the lawsuit on September 7 in St. Clair County, Illinois. Both Holton and Rieger claim they took Avandia to treat their Type 2 diabetes, suffering serious injuries as a result, said the Madison-St. Clair Record. The complaint alleges that GlaxoSmithKline and McKesson, a pharmaceutical distributor, knew Avandia was linked to a 51% increased risk for cardiovascular problems before the plaintiffs were ever prescribed the drug, explained the Madison-St. Clair Record.

Regardless, the complaint goes on, both GlaxoSmithKline and McKesson never provided danger warnings until Avandia’s label was changed August 14, 2007 to warn about potential increased heart failure risks, said the Madison-St. Clair Record. The label was updated again, on November 19 of that year, about potential myocardial ischemia risks. The plaintiffs allege they took Avandia before the warnings were added.

Because of this, say both plaintiffs, they suffered several cardiovascular injuries, such as heart attacks and congestive heart failure; pain and suffering; large financial losses over their inability to work and large medical costs; permanent disfigurement and disability; and loss of their ability to enjoy their lives, wrote the Madison-St. Clair Record. The plaintiffs also state that GlaxoSmithKline should have provided the warnings before they were mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), especially since the drug maker was aware that people diagnosed with diabetes generally also suffer from risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, which add to their vulnerability for cardiac disease and stroke.

GlaxoSmithKline and McKesson neglected to conduct sufficient testing on Avandia, the plaintiffs allege and added that had sufficient testing been performed, Avandia would not have been allowed on the market without a warning, according to the Madison-St. Clair Record. Instead, GlaxoSmithKline touted Avandia in a broad mass media marketing campaign, said the complaint.

The lawsuit, which cites 10 counts, seeks a judgment in excess of $250,000, in addition to costs, legal feels, and any other court-deemed relief, said the Madison-St. Clair Record, which added that the complaint also states that the plaintiffs could have taken safer medications when they were prescribed Avandia.

Avandia belongs to a class of diabetes drugs called thiazolidinediones that lower blood sugar by decreasing insulin resistance. Since November 2007, Avandia’s U.S. label has included a black box warning detailing its association with heart attacks. The black box was added after Dr. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic published a study showing that patients taking Avandia had a 40 percent increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Since 2007, more evidence of Avandia’s heart risks has accumulated.

Last year, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) placed severe restrictions on sales of Avandia, after determining its heart risks outweighed its benefits.

Though it was once the best selling diabetes drug in the world (1 million Americans were taking it by 2006), Avandia sales declined sharply once its association with heart problems was revealed. According to the FDA, as of last October, only 119,000 U.S. patients were taking Avandia.

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