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Avandia Settlements Reached in Additional Lawsuits: Report

  • Written by: Staff Writers
  • 79 Comments

GlaxoSmithKline has reportedly reached agreements to settle Avantida lawsuits brought by about 20,000 people who allege that they suffered heart attacks and other injuries caused by side effects of their controversial diabetes drug. 

According to a report by Bloomberg News, the drug maker agreed to the Avandia settlements last month as part of court-ordered mediation.

Glaxo has previously agreed to settle more than 15,000 Avandia lawsuits filed in state and federal courts throughout the United States for an estimated $700 million. The amount of the additional Avandia payments that will resolve these most recent cases has not disclosed.

All of the lawsuits include claims that Glaxo failed to adequately warn consumers and doctors that Avandia side effects included an increased risk of heart attacks and other heart problems.

Avandia (rosiglitazone) was a popular type 2 diabetes drug that was used by millions of people before it was linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and heart problems. Some estimates suggest that more than 100,000 heart attacks may have been caused by Avandia since it was introduced.

After concerns about the Avandia heart risks first surfaced in May 2007, the FDA required a “black box” warning, which is the strongest warning that can be placed on a medication label. However, many critics continued to argue that the warning was not strong enough and called for federal regulators to issue an Avandia recall because the risks greatly outweigh any benefit provided by the medication.

In July 2010, an FDA advisory panel was convened to review the risks associated with Avandia. Although the panel indicated that Avandia increases the risk of heart attacks when compared to older drugs, a majority of the committee voted to recommend that the FDA allow GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug to remain on the market. 

Avandia was banned from the European Union, but was allowed to remain on the market in the U.S. under severe restrictions. GlaxoSmithKline has since ceased marketing of the drug, but continues to face consumer lawsuits over injuries allegedly caused by the drug.

The federal judge presiding over the Avandia litigation previously indicated that cases will be scheduled for trial if 85% of the remaining lawsuits are not settled. Based on the available information, it is unclear whether these most recent settlements meet that figure.

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79 comments

  1. crackednut Reply

    Hi Terry, This is the same song and dance we have been getting from the same people for the last two year. Sure hope they know what they are talking about and telling the truth this time.

  2. crackednut Reply

    Got 1st check 1/2of amount. No idea when 2nd half is supposed to come.Glad for the first half tho.

  3. Kat Reply

    I too have been waiting and waiting, months turned into yrs. My mom was the patient she suffered both a stroke and congestive heart failure. In the meantime, she passed away 2 yrs ago. I speak to Shari every few months to see if there’s an update. After receiving papers saying that the settlement first half of the payment would likely be paid in 4 months back in Jan 13′, again in August after receiving a please be patient letter, she said probably at the end of the year. I just called again, still waiting for Glaxo-Smith Kline to approve the file. It’s crazy!

  4. dana Reply

    my husband passed in sept 2012 I sent my attorneys death certificate in oct 2012 but they are just now putting it before a judge to sign. I took out a loan where interest rates skyrocket after 90 days cause I was told my check was being sent out at the end of oct. now im in debt unbelievably. at least get your stories straight g&k

  5. dana Reply

    I sent in a death certificate 1 year ago but they are just now putting it through to a judge. took out a loan that has interest rates that skyrocket after 90 days cause I was told id get a check at end of oct.. I cant believe the way certain law firms are running things. they get rich from clients but were more like just a number to them.

  6. Sallie Reply

    I called my lawyer, Mulligan Law in Texas, this morning. Still no word as to when GSK will release the settlement money. She said sometime in 2014 (Yes, I heard that for the last 3 years.)
    In the mean time, this is what I found concerning the case:
    Philidelphia Court
    Case ID: 080202733
    Case Caption: IN RE: AVANDIA LITIGATION
    Filing Date: Thursday , February 21st, 2008
    Court: MT – MASS TORT
    Location: CH – City Hall
    Jury: N – NON JURY
    Case Type: TV – MASS TORT – AVANDIA
    Status: DISPO – DISPOSED – CASE CLOSED

    01-JUL-2013
    03:44 PM DISPO – DISPOSED – CASE CLOSED
    Docket Entry: THE AVANDIA LITIGATION MASS TORT PROGRAM HAS BEEN CONCLUDED. THE MASTER DOCKET IS CLOSED, ACCORDINGLY. SXT…07/01/2013.

    I have stopped holding my breath for any $$$ coming.

  7. Linda Reply

    I have gotten the same run around from Sherry Nothing but false promises and still no money. Now you call and get the avandia ligation dept and still no answers or funds this is crap

  8. leslie Reply

    here it is feb. 2014 and still no check. they keep saying they’ll elevate my call what a joke

  9. mackenzie Reply

    I too share your pain. My husband and I have been waiting for over 3 years now. We have never gotten any response for any attorney not even our local attorney. Not knowing or if even there will be a monetary settlement can be unnerving. An especially since our lives have been turned upside down for so many years now because of this drug. Our retirement years have not been golden. So I guess I’ll have to go with the old saying “Good things go to those who wait”

  10. Stella Reply

    Non Payment. None of us are getting paid. Promises and promises. More forms to sign that take 1 month to receive and 1 more month to process before the next excuse rolls along. I think we need to contact the manufacturer and let them know we are not getting paid. I also think the California Bar Association should become aware of this.

  11. Crackednut Reply

    The bar association should become aware of this? Who do you think sponsors it?

  12. One Sad Mama Cee Reply

    I too am a very sad mama. I recently received a letter dated April 7 via US Mail. This letter stated that they had reached a standoff with GSK concerning the Avandia settlement. Although, GKS has made an initial payment on your case, they have decided not to make payments on hundreds of other cases. Additionally, they (GSK) has refused to make the second payment on hundreds of cases with no outstanding medical lien. Well something need to be done about this. People died, had strokes, CHF, and other serious medical problems and you tell the people, I am not giving you another penny. This is unbelievable. we need to boycott their product and show them a thing of too. We should inform our doctors do write me a prescription that GSK produce. This nothing but a problem. Also this is two fold. I think Girardi and Keese are Liars!! They are about making money for themselves. They are the one along with other law firms that have one. While we have lost family members and have suffer from this medication. I will continue to fight for the second half of my money . I really think these lawyers don’t think we read. They are the only ones who have attended college bull shit!!! We need a class act law suit against the lawyers. Let look into it and fight!!!!

  13. Kat Reply

    This is really directed at you “one sad mama Cee”…I lost my mom to a stroke and heart attack brought on by Avandia, At least you got your first payment, I have never received a payment, nOTHING! Still waiting! Be thankful for what you have gotten.

  14. truly Reply

    Hey Miguel, my lawyer office told me they are waiting for signage
    Month later they are saying Avandia may not cause heart attacks or
    Heart problems that’s why taken little while longer been waiting since July 2011 I need my money so I can go see my heart Dr and I need to move sometimes I think it’s all a scam I believe you and this other person it’s all a scam they just want all of our information I bet when they have taken money out for our case going court lawyer going keep
    all of it. My lawyer office tells me call every month they tell me something, sometimes fell like forget whole thing just go on my life
    Do what I have to do just waiting not getting anyone anywhere water of time…
    It’s all scam!!!!!

  15. Kat Reply

    I have been waiting and waiting and waiting. No first check, I wanted to get a loan on my promised money and now I was told that they won’t allow any loans and surprise all of a sudden my mom has a $6400.00 medical lien from Kaiser that No one has ever heard of or told anyone about. I don’t believe it. Where’s the rest of the money then? We were supposed to get 10k last year and they were going to keep 10k for themselves and keep 10k aside in case of any medical liens. Well, I should have 1360.00 coming to me then right? Where’s my checks? How can we do anything about it?

  16. Mildred Reply

    I have three stints in my heart from a heart attack from taking Avandia and recalled hormone pill. I been waiting for my final payment my mother die 10/12 and my father 5/14 I’m the oldest I’m still hurting and grieving over my mother my blood pressure and diabetes is out of control I owe funeral expensive now I’m too old and broke down to get a job I’m looking at being homeless in couple of weeks I rather be dead then to have to live on the streets I no longer have a car I’m having chest pain now I have nothing to live for I’m done “Avandia and G I KEESE has won “

  17. Susan Reply

    I was told I would receive a check by the end of summer. Summer is over. No check. My dad worked hard until the heartattack He was never the same. I watched him die.

  18. Vic Reply

    I recieved a check back in May of 2014, was told the second half of the avandia money will be released within 180 days well those days have come and gone, will I ever get the rest of this money and if so when.

  19. Me Reply

    Kat

    In rewards to Ce mama issues, if she didnt get a second check what makes you think you will get one. I haven’t gotton any payment for my daughter either and she left behind a son 8yrs today. Im refusing offer because if I don’t get paid neither do lawyers. They can’t get a cut without me spending mines and I haven’t signed anything for an amount. Now, I may not get anything but neith will the lawyers at least off my daughter,s monies????

  20. waynee Reply

    I got letter this past month said checks will be mailed out for the group I am in in April. but been told this before ………………….

  21. me Reply

    Case 2:07-md-01871-CMR Document 4379 Filed 02-18-2015 page 1 of 1…
    United States District. Court For the Eastern District Of Pennsylvania

    Judge Rufis is handling all cases in the U.S. (Advandia)

    Please read all pre-trail orders. 1-233.

  22. Wiley Reply

    Well I received the first half but still waiting on the 2nd half. My brother received a call from the actual LAWYER and he told him that we should be receiving the 2nd half at the beginning of next month which was March and here it is March and we haven’t received a penny. They also told me that I should be receiving a letter telling me how much if the supplement we are going to get and I still haven’t received that and that was 2 almost 3 months ago. This is ridiculous! !!

  23. me Reply

    Glaxo Accord Said to Spur Lawyer Fight Over Fees
    by Jef FeeleySophia Pearson
    12:01 AM EST January 19, 2013

    Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) — GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s settlement of lawsuits over its Avandia drug triggered a challenge from nine law firms to a bid by lead attorneys for almost three-quarters of a $143 million fee fund, including one seeking about $2,700 per hour, according to two people familiar with the matter.
    Attorneys suing on behalf of users of the diabetes medicine, who said it caused heart attacks and strokes, filed objections to the fee request in Philadelphia federal court, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. The contested amount is sought by a court-appointed group of plaintiffs’ lawyers picked to recommend how much attorneys in the cases should be paid, the people said.
    Six law firms on that fee committee asked for 71 percent of the fund set aside by U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe for the Avandia cases before her, according to the people. The committee lawyers put the most time and money into efforts to collect evidence that Glaxo allegedly mishandled warnings about Avandia’s risks, Dianne Nast, a lawyer who led the group, said in an interview.

    “These were the folks who were the most active in working on the case, so it’s only natural they are in line for a larger share of the fees,” Nast said. The fee fund, between 6 and 7 percent of the total settlement, according to the people, means the total accord may be worth more than $2 billion. As a result, the average payout for the 40,000 users of Avandia involved in the litigation would be about $50,000 — before legal fees.
    Highest Fee
    Joseph Zonies, a Denver-based attorney who served as one of the lead lawyers in the Avandia cases before Rufe, is slated to collect more than $24.4 million, the highest recommended fee, according to the people. Zonies put in more than 18,000 hours of work on the case and his fee would amount to $1,341-an-hour for his efforts, the people said. He declined to comment on the fee recommendation. Another lawyer, Vance Andrus, is seeking almost double that per-hour amount, according to the people.
    Plaintiffs’ lawyers in product liability cases work on a contingency fee basis. While per-hour calculations may be much higher than attorneys who regularly work at an hourly rate, lawyers who work on contingency are often forced to spend millions of dollars of their own money to pursue a case and aren’t guaranteed payment in the end, unless they win or settle.
    Benedict Morelli, a New York-based lawyer who according to the court’s docket objected to the fee recommendations, and Samuel Lanham, a Maine attorney who also objected, didn’t return calls for comment on their objections.
    Under Seal
    While Rufe ordered objections to be filed under seal, it’s probable that plaintiffs’ lawyers unhappy with their proposed cut of the fees are demanding more money, said Carl Tobias, who teaches product-liability law at the University of Richmond in Virginia and follows such consolidated cases, also known as multidistrict litigations, or MDLs.
    “MDL fee fights are common and the infighting among plaintiffs’ lawyers over that money can get fierce,” Tobias said in an interview.
    Glaxo, the U.K.’s biggest drugmaker, has said it paid more than $3 billion to settle federal and state government claims that it illegally marketed Avandia, once the world’s best-selling diabetes pill, and other medications.
    Glaxo officials haven’t stated what the drugmaker spent to settle the Avandia lawsuits before Rufe, and in state courts, alleging executives failed to properly warn consumers about the drug’s risks, Bernadette King, a spokeswoman for London-based Glaxo said in interview.
    Stop Promoting
    Glaxo said in 2010 it would stop promoting Avandia worldwide after regulators said the treatment would be withdrawn from the market in Europe and sales would be limited in the U.S. because of studies linking the drug to increased risks of heart attacks.
    Sales fell 43 percent in the wake of the restrictions, Glaxo said.
    In MDL cases, suits filed in federal courts across the U.S. are consolidated before a single judge to make pretrial information exchanges more efficient. Often, lawyers use the case consolidations to resolve suits, Tobias said.
    The group of lawyers tapped by a judge to lead an MDL’s evidence-gathering efforts are entitled to receive a “common-benefit fee” for their work, said Howard Erichson, a Fordham University law professor who teaches classes on complex litigation and product-liability law.
    MDL Evidence
    Lawyers who use MDL-collected evidence to help achieve a settlement in their cases are required to hand over a percentage of their fee, Erichson said. Those monies are used to compensate MDL attorneys for work on the case that benefits everyone in the litigation, Erichson said.
    “MDL cases can involve an enormous amounts of work and the benefits to all claimants of that work can also be enormous,” Erichson said in an interview. That’s why MDL fee funds can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, he added.
    Lawyers who settled MDL cases against Merck & Co. over the company’s withdrawn painkiller Vioxx split more than $315 million in fees in 2011.
    U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in New Orleans also had to evaluate objections to fee allocations in that case, which featured at least 16 trials in federal and state courts. No
    Avandia cases went to trial in either federal or state court. Rufe approved the fee fund in October.
    The lawyers on the fee-advisory group headed by Nast included Zonies, Andrus, Thomas Cartmell, Bryan Aylstock, Stephen Corr, Paul Kiesel and Bill Robins III, according to court records. Cartmell, Andrus and Kiesel declined to comment on the fee recommendations. Aylstock, Corr and Robins didn’t return calls seeking comment.
    Lead Counsel
    Andrus, a Denver-based lawyer who served as lead counsel in the Avandia case at one point, is slated to receive more than $17 million for his work on the consolidated cases, according to the people familiar with the matter. He put in more than 6,300 hours of work on the case and his fee would provide a payment of almost $2,700-an-hour, the people said.
    Cartmell, a Kansas City, Missouri-based lawyer who also served as a lead lawyer on the federal cases, is in line to receive more than $18.5 million, according to the people. He racked up more than 12,000 hours of work on the case and his recommended fee would amount to $1,496-an-hour, the people said.
    Aylstock, whose law practice is based in Pensacola, Florida, also served in a lead role in the Avandia MDL. The group recommended he receive more than $18.5 million in fees, the people said. Aylstock worked more than 8,400 hours on the MDL case and his fee is equal to $2,211-an-hour, according to the people.
    Leadership Group
    Robins, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, another member of the leadership group, stands to receive at least $11.4 million for more than 11,300 hours of work, according to the people familiar with the matter. That is a rate of $1,008-an-hour. Kiesel, a Beverly Hills, California-based lawyer who also served as one of the MDL’s lead counsels, stands to make more than $5.5 million in fees for more than 3,600 hours of work, or $1,521-an-hour, the people said.
    Nast, based in Philadelphia, would receive more than $6.7 million for more than 4,100 hours of work, according to the people. That works out to a $1,631-an-hour rate.
    Nine law firms have objected to the Avandia MDL fees, according to the court docket. While their filings are sealed, objectors are probably arguing that Zonies, Cartmel and other MDL leaders are “double dipping” on fees, Tobias said.
    Those lawyers received their fees for settling their Avandia cases consolidated before Rufe and now are getting a second fee for their work on the MDL, Tobias said.
    ‘Biggest Fees’
    “It sort of feels like a conflict of interest to have the folks on the fee committee recommending that they get the biggest fees,” Tobias said. “Then again, they are most likely the ones who have done the most work on the MDL cases, so they may be deserving of those fees.”
    Rufe appointed lawyer Bruce Merenstein of Philadelphia to serve as a special master to review the fee-advisory committee’s recommendations and the objections to it, public court filings state. He’s being paid $475-an-hour for his work, according to the filings.
    Merenstein said in an interview that he’s been talking with lawyers who’ve complained about their split of the fees.
    “We are moving toward resolving the objections,” he added.
    Rufe has the final say on any fee award, Erichson said. Questions about self-dealing by an MDL fee committee can raise “legitimate concerns,” the law professor said.
    The consolidated case is In re Avandia Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, 07-01871, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).

  24. me Reply

    Now, between $45-75.000 is being paid out. And I agree, it should be more. Who nominated her in Pennsylvania? Judge Cynthia Rufe? It seems to me that the FDA, Federal & State, or Lawyers are wining this Advandia battle. While the Plaintiffs are seriously ill or died with family grievances Just like Roman times of long ago?

  25. me Reply

    Plaintiffs loose the Advandia settlements while Lawyers, FDA, Federal & State, and our Courts are the winners. Who can trust the system and telling everyone to vote??? Rufe, you should step down, your concerns are only for the system that keep your job in good standing? While the rest are battling grievances. (Plaintiffs).

  26. lyn Reply

    cant we sue girardi and keese for holding back this settlement money, what about the interest on this money ? waiting over 3 yrs. its a disgrace my husband passed away in 2011

  27. waynee Reply

    I got my check today May 10 2015. I got it all but bout 1000.00 it is being held for some reason for Medicare payment. I don’t know why because I did not have Medicare when I took the drug and I was in hospital with my problems before I went on Medicare so not sure why it is being held. Good luck everyone.

  28. justice Reply

    just think ,any one of ever pulled this fraud ,the FBI would be hauling our collective asses in . this is fraud . the bar can only go after the lawyer not the firm . The firm needs to be sued .

  29. Linda Reply

    My husband past away 8 yes ago at the age of 39 I have yet to receive anything but paperwork over year ago bn going back n forth for 3 yrs

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