Not Accepting Cases

Avandia Lawsuits

GlaxoSmithKline set aside $3.4 billion in 2011 to settle lawsuits over its Type 2 diabetes drug Avandia. Patients who took the drug blame the manufacturer for not disclosing that Avandia increased the risk of heart attack and cardiac death.

Avandia Lawsuit Facts
  1. Number of Lawsuits: More than 50,000
  2. Plaintiff Injuries: Heart attack, congestive heart failure, liver failure, bone fracture, death
  3. Defendants: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
  4. MDL Location: United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  5. Litigation Status: Mostly completed
  6. Settlement Amount: $3.4 billion

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Thousands of patients sued GlaxoSmithKline after they said they suffered heart problems because of taking Avandia. Injured people accused GSK of actively concealing the risks of using Avandia.

Patients and family members reportedly filed more than 50,000 lawsuits against GSK in state and federal courts over Avandia and its side effects. A judicial panel consolidated more than 5,000 federal cases in a Pennsylvania court.

The company also paid $3 billion in federal government penalties to settle fraud allegations and another $319 million to 46 states.

GSK settled Avandia lawsuits for billions of dollars. Drugwatch’s legal partners are no longer accepting Avandia cases.

Avandia Lawsuit Injuries

Patients who filed lawsuits blamed GSK for the Avandia side effects they experienced. These injuries included heart attack, congestive heart failure, liver failure and death.

In addition, some people died as a result of these side effects. In these cases, family members filed lawsuits against GSK.

Accusations Against GlaxoSmithKline

Avandia lawsuits accused GlaxoSmithKline of actively concealing information regarding the risks from using Avandia and related drugs Avandamet and Avandaryl. The lawsuits also claimed GSK misrepresented the drugs as safe for their intended use.

Avandia lawsuits accuse GSK of hiding risks and misrepresenting Avandia as safe.

In some cases, surviving family members blamed the deaths of their loved ones on the Type 2 diabetes drug.

Several studies implicated Avandia as a factor in cardiovascular death, severe liver toxicity and increased risk of bone fractures.

In addition to studies that found dangers, GSK submitted its own analysis to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August 2006 showing Avandia caused a 31 percent increased risk of heart attack, according to a lawsuit.

In 2006, GSK officials acknowledged they had known of the drug’s potential heart attack risk since at least 2005. But according to the New York Times, documents showed the company had data suggesting Avandia’s extensive heart problems almost as soon as the drug hit the market in 1999. The company, however, went to great lengths to keep those risks from the public, according to lawsuits.

Avandia Class Action

A class-action lawsuit brought in May 2007 became the first Avandia case against GSK.

Puerto Rico resident Celenio Cruz-Santana filed the class-action lawsuit against GSK. Several months later, a judicial panel transferred the case to Pennsylvania, along with other federal cases involving Avandia.

In 2009, U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe granted a motion from GSK to dismiss the lawsuit because Cruz-Santana had failed to file paperwork, specifically a plaintiff fact sheet.

Avandia Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation

At one point, people had Avandia claims in federal courts around the country. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized the federal Avandia cases in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Oct. 16, 2007, in MDL No. 1871. At its peak, the Avandia MDL included 5,297 cases.

James Byrne Courthouse
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is a means for federal courts to manage large numbers of complaints with similar allegations. In an MDL, a single judge makes all pretrial rulings on issues such as what experts will be allowed to testify and what kinds of information the parties must exchange.

In November 2011, the federal judge presiding over the Avandia MDL appointed a mediator to help resolve pending MDL cases via settlements, while proceeding with litigation on others.

Roughly three months later, in February 2012, the judge announced that the court was satisfied with the progress of settlements and would now focus on resolving remaining cases through litigation.

More than 5,290 cases that were part of the MDL have been resolved. One lawsuit was still pending in the MDL as of August 2018.

Avandia Settlement Amounts

To save time and money, GSK settled many Avandia cases out of court.

In 2010 alone, GSK agreed to pay over a half-billion dollars in settlements. In just three months, the company settled more than 16,000 suits.

2010 Avandia Settlement Payouts
In May 2010, GSK settled more than 700 Avandia lawsuits for about $60 million. In July 2010, GSK settled 10,000 more at a cost of $460 million.

In early 2011, the first federal Avandia trials began. GSK agreed to pay a reported $250 million to settle 5,500 claims that Avandia had resulted in death. Information about how much money any individual won in a settlement is hard to come by, as settlements often include confidentiality clauses that keep people from sharing details.

In January 2011, GSK announced it was setting aside $3.4 billion to pay for future Avandia litigation and settlement costs.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.

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16 Cited Research Articles

  1. Hirschler, B. (2011, January 17). GSK faces Q4 profit wipe-out in $3 billion legal hit. Retrieved from
  2. Reuters. (2010, July 13). Glaxo to pay $450 million in Avandia settlement – report. Retrieved from
  3. Tanner, L. (2010, June 28). Study Ties Avandia to Heart Attack and Stroke. Retrieved from
  4. Nissen, S.E., MD, & Wolski, K., MPH. (2007, June 14). Effect of Rosiglitazone on the Risk of Myocardial Infarction and Death from Cardiovascular Causes. The New England Journal of Medicine. Retrieved from
  5. Floyd, J.S., MD, et al. (2009, July 22). Case series of liver failure associated with rosiglitazone and pioglitazone. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. Retrieved from
  6. Douglas, I.J. et al. (2009, September 29). The Risk of Fractures Associated with Thiazolidinediones: A Self-controlled Case-Series Study. PLOS Medicine. Retrieved from
  7. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2013, November 25). Information Page: FDA requires removal of certain restrictions on the diabetes drug Avandia. Retrieved from
  8. Harris, G. (2010, July 3). Diabetes Drug Maker Hid Test Data, Files Indicate. New York Times. Retrieved from
  9. Harris, G. (2010, February 19). Research Ties Diabetes Drug to Heart Woes. New York Times. Retrieved from
  10. Bloomberg. (2011, February 7). Glaxo Said to Pay More Than $250 Million to Settle Avandia Death Lawsuits. Inside Counsel. Retrieved from
  11. Schmidt, M.S. & Thomas, K. (2012, July 2). Glaxo Agrees to Pay $3 Billion in Fraud Settlement. The New York Times. Retrieved from
  12. Wilson, D. (2012, November 15). GSK Pays $90M To Settle States' Claims Over Avandia Risks. Law360. Retrieved from
  13. U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (n.d.). MDL 1871 In Re: Avandia Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation. Retrieved from
  14. U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. (2007, May 30). Cruz-Santana v. GlaxoSmithKline. Retrieved from
  15. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (2009, May 7). In Re: Avandia Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation; Case 2:07-cv-04551; Celenio Cruz-Santana v. GlaxoSmithKline et al. Order. Retrieved from
  16. U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2018, August 15). MDL Statistics Report - Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District. Retrieved from
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