Avandia Lawsuit Set For Trial To Begin Jan 24

The first Avandia lawsuit has been scheduled for trial to begin late next month, with a second trial set to begin in March 2011. The cases will serve as bellwether cases for thousands of lawsuits over Avandia that are still pending against GlaxoSmithKline, which has already reached Avandia settlements in an estimated 10,000 claims. 

In the federal Avandia litigation, which has been centralized in an MDL (multidistrict litigation) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed by the family of James Burford has been scheduled to begin on January 24, 2011. The case is expected to take about two weeks, and will be followed by the trial of a case filed by Gary Snyder, which has been scheduled to begin March 28, 2011.

The trials will help the parties in remaining cases gauge how juries are likely to respond to witness testimony, arguments and evidence that will be similar throughout other cases.

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The Burford lawsuit was filed in 2007 by Deborah Burford and her two minor children, over the November 2006 death of James Burford due to a myocardial infarction at age 49. The complaint indicates that he began using Avandia in December 2005 to control his diabetes, and alleges that his death may have been prevented if GlaxoSmithKline had adequately researched their medication and warned about the increased risk of heart problems from side effects of Avandia.

The other bellwether lawsuit was filed in May 2009, by Gary Snyder, who suffered congestive heart failure after using Avandia from 2003 through 2007.

Avandia (rosiglitazone) was first approved in the United States in 1998 to treat type 2 diabetes by helping control blood sugar levels. The drug has been used by millions of diabetics, but sales plummeted following the concerns about potential Avandia heart risks. Some experts estimate that Avandia has caused between 60,000 and 200,000 heart attacks and deaths due to cardiovascular problems in the U.S. from 1999 to 2006.

A black box warning was added to the medication in 2007 due to the increased risk of heart problems from Avandia. However, earlier this year, the FDA determined that the warning was not enough and has severely restricted use of the medication instead of issuing an Avandia recall.


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