Kirchmer files more Avandia suits in federal court

By Marilyn Tennissen | Nov 25, 2008

Provost Umphrey attorney Christopher Kirchmer has filed four new Avandia lawsuits in federal court, alleging the drug's maker, GlaxoSmithKline, marketed and sold the drug knowing it was dangerous.

The suits were filed in the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas on behalf of Sharon Steen, Gaynell Martin, Joshua Dean and Ceclia Woodrow. Kirchmer has filed around 25 suits over the diabetes drug in recent months.

The plaintiffs are Type 2 diabetics and claim the prescribed drug Avandia has worsened their condition. They are seeking past and future medical expenses and mental anguish.

According to the GSK Web site, in 1999 Avandia (rosiglitazone maleate) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is an oral anti-diabetic agent that acts primarily by increasing insulin sensitivity.

The plaintiffs allege the global pharmaceutical manufacturer "unfairly" convinced the FDA to approve its drug, and then went on a marketing campaign with a drug GSK officials knew was harmful.

On May 21, 2007, Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist associated with the Cleveland Clinic, published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine with evidence that Avandia could increase a patient's risk of a heart attack, the suit states.

The suit alleges GSK concealed the evidence because such findings would diminish sales.

The suit acknowledges that most people suffering from diabetes have other health problems such as high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

The suit goes on to allege that during the following year of alleged concealment, GSK pressed its sales of Avandia to a distribution of approximately 13 million prescriptions in the U.S., making billions of dollars off a known dangerous drug.

The suit faults GSK with negligently and recklessly failing to warn the general public of the risks associated with taking Avandia, product liability, marketing a defective drug, failing to provide adequate warnings, fraud, negligence, misrepresentation, expressed warranty for goods, warranty of merchant ability, warranty of fitness, unjust enrichment and wrongful death.

"The product warnings for Avandia in effect during the relevant time period were vague, incomplete or otherwise inadequate, both substantively and graphically, to alert prescribing physicians as well as consumer patients of the actual risks associated with Avandia," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs are suing for punitive damages against GSK.

Woodrow vs. GlaxoSmithKline, Case No. 1:08-cv-662-TH
Steen vs. GlaxoSmithKline, Case No. 1:08-cv-664-TH
Dean vs. GlaxoSmithKline, Case No. 1:08-cv-665-MAC
Martin vs. GlaxoSmithKline, Case No. 1:08-cv-666-RC-KFG

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