South Carolina Attorney General Sues Major Pharmaceutical Manufacturer

Your Charleston drug and medication injury attorneys recently learned of a major lawsuit involving South Carolina and the diabetes drug Avandia. Our State’s Attorney General’s Office is suing GlaxoSmithKline PLC, the maker of Avandia, alleging a widespread pattern of fraudulent behavior. According to the lawsuit, filed in Spartanburg County on May 17, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) used false and illegal marketing, exaggerated the drug’s effectiveness, and has hid Avandia’s risks since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initially approved the drug in 1999. The suit seeks damages and penalties in addition to recouping millions of dollars in State Funding spent on prescription for Medicaid patients and state employees, as well as moneys spent treating the drug’s harmful side effects.

In regards to the false and illegal marketing, the suit claims GSK has continued to heavily market Avandia without warning of the potential cardiovascular risks the drug poses to consumers, despite the largely known association of between the drugs use and heart attacks. Since a 2007 study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic showed the drug increased the risk of heart attack in type 2 diabetes patients by about 40 percent, Avandia has come under extreme scrutiny, especially considering further studies have come to similar conclusions.

In May the FDA issued restrictions on the drug’s use because such dangerous links to cardiovascular risks and heart attack. Now, under the FDA’s new program, only certain patients will be allowed to use the drug.

Furthermore, because of the risk of heart attack, most pharmacies in the United States will stop selling Avandia starting in November. South Carolina is not the only State to file lawsuits against GSK; several others have filed similar claims related to Avandia. According to the content of South Carolina’s lawsuit, the Attorney General seeks penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation of our State’s Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Your defective products attorneys at Howell and Christmas know that many times warnings from the manufacturer regarding a drug’s use should be contained on the bottle or other packaging where the drug is contained. Instructions and warnings can also be provided by the treating doctor and in some cases by the pharmacy where the medications are purchased. However, these duties exist regardless of whether the medication or medical device has been approved by the FDA. A manufacturer of a drug can still be held liable for their product even if the FDA has approved the drug. In the event that a drug or medical device causes serious injury or death, legal action can be taken against manufacturer based upon theories of negligence, breach of warranty and/or strict liability. Action also can be taken against a doctor or pharmacist if either or both were negligent in performing their duties related to the drug.

Free consultation