May 11, 2010 / 9:50 PM / 10 years ago

Glaxo settles hundreds of Avandia suits: lawyer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline Plc has settled with nearly 700 people who say they suffered harm because they took the diabetes drug Avandia, a lawyer involved with many of the cases told Reuters on Tuesday.

Philadelphia lawyer Sol Weiss of AnapolSchwartz law firm said he had settled with the drugmaker for 189 individuals, and that the amount that Glaxo would pay was confidential.

“There are 500 or so others that have been confirmed settled,” Weiss told Reuters.

Weiss said most of his clients had suffered heart attacks, but that others had congestive heart failure or stroke. “A fair number of people have died,” he told Reuters.

The British-based drugmaker could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sources familiar with the matter said on Monday that some 700 cases had been settled.

News agency Bloomberg said on Monday that Glaxo would pay about $60 million to resolve the suits filed by three attorneys — a relatively small amount compared with liabilities some investors fear it could face.

Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note last week they believed Glaxo’s stock was discounting a $6 billion liability risk from Avandia ahead a court case in Philadelphia that would hear some 5,000 of 13,000 consolidated cases.

Commercially, Avandia is no longer a major product for Glaxo, with sales declining sharply following controversy over the drug’s heart risks in 2007.

Worries about liability claims have risen sharply since February, when two U.S. senators published a highly critical report on Avandia. A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel will consider possible further restrictions on the drug in July.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Gary Hill

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