Third Circuit judge rules in Avandia case

By Michael P. Tremoglie | Sep 21, 2011

A federal judge this week issued some rulings on motions by GlaxoSmithKline counsel in the massive Multi-District Litigation Avandia case. The company won one and lost two.

The one case GSK won was when U.S. Third Circuit Judge Cynthia F. Rufe granted all of their motions to dismiss filed in seven consumer fraud class actions.  The actions had been filed under multiple state laws (New Jersey, Florida, New York, California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania).

The company, through its spokesperson Bernadette King, said it is gratified with the judge’s decision to dismiss these seven purported class actions. They did issue one caveat – that the judge allowed the plaintiffs to amend but they believe any amendment will cause the court to change its mind.

The one ruling GSK lost involved a motion to dismiss that was filed in 60 cases, based on the statute of limitations. Rufe denied this motion.

The company said it was disappointed with the court’s decision not to dismiss these cases it felt this was a preliminary stage of the proceedings. It will continue to pursue this issue.

Another GSK motion denied by Rufe was an omnibus motion for summary judgment regarding the adequacy of the Avandia label regarding congestive heart failure.

The company said in a press release that it “strongly disagrees with the Court’s decision, which was contrary to the facts and law on this issue. Over the course of this litigation, doctors have consistently testified that they were informed about and aware of the risk of congestive heart failure (CHF) associated with Avandia and the other TZD in the class.  GSK has diligently communicated information to physicians about CHF to allow health care professionals to make an informed and appropriate choice about prescribing Avandia to their patients. We believe that a fair evaluation of the law and evidence in this case will ultimately result in a determination that the label was adequate for prescribers to make appropriate prescribing decisions.”

GSK has been sued because of the alleged side effects of Avandia. It is alleged that GSK concealed the existence of the product’s serious and lethal side effects. According to the plaintiffs, a Cleveland Clinic study found serious side effects in a 2007 study. The plaintiffs alleged that the company knew about these side effects since 1999 when the drug was approved by the FDA.

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