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Drug giant to pay W.Va. $22M to settle lawsuit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay the state of West Virginia $22 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged the company illegally promoted its Avandia diabetes medicine.

The British drugmaker initially announced the settlement with West Virginia and seven other states in a regulatory filing in July 2013.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey signed off on the deal May 30, and announced the settlement Thursday.

Morrisey said GlaxoSmithKline’s $22 million payment is one of the largest pharmaceutical lawsuit settlements in state history.

“This settlement is a significant victory for the state, its agencies and the people,” Morrisey said in a prepared statement. “. . . We are pleased that we were able to recoup some of the money spent on these products.”

As part of the settlement, GlaxoSmithKline denied any wrongdoing.

Then-Attorney General Darrell McGraw filed the lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court in 2012. The lawsuit alleged that GlaxoSmithKline failed to disclose side effects of Avandia, which the company marketed as a diabetes drug that would lower patients’ blood sugar and decrease risks of heart problems.

However, the drugs have been linked to heart attacks and strokes. Avandia was pulled from the market in Europe, and its sale is now heavily restricted in the United States.

“Our citizens have the right to know the risks and possible side effects of the medication they are taking,” Morrisey said.

Avandia once was the world’s best-selling diabetes drug, generating $3 billion in sales…


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