Pharma corp refuse to face responsibility
GlaxoSmithKline to fight UK legal battle despite US payouts
The Guardian has reported that GSK will contest a number of cases against it relating to death or harm caused by the diabetes drug Avandiathem despite paying out billions over similar complaints in the US.
The pharmaceutical giant has admitted concealing data about the damaging side-effects of the drug, and there is evidence of the drug's harmful effects. (A scientist with the US Food and Drug Administration estimated that Avandia could have been responsible for 100,000 heart attacks in the US). But, despite this, GSK is not prepared to settle claims in the UK without a court battle.
In just one of the cases, the company has indicated a willingness to spend £600,000 on its defence, which, the solicitor says, would be a fraction of what the claim is worth.
The licence for Avandia was revoked in Europe in September 2010 because of evidence that it could cause heart failure and heart attacks. The drug can still be prescribed in the US, but not to patients at risk of heart problems.
In addition, GSK has pleaded guilty to US federal charges of concealing data about the drug's side effects. In November 2011 GSK agreed to pay $3bn to the US government over the Avandia issue and to end investigations into its marketing of the antidepressants Paxil (Seroxat in the UK) and Wellbutrin.
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