If you’ve read the news lately, you may have heard that GlaxoSmithKline agreed to settle approximately 700 Avandia lawsuits for a reported $60 million. You may also have heard the calls to end the Avandia safety trial known as the TIDE trial. This may have you concerned about how these developments affect you, and rightfully so.
This week, Pleading Ignorance takes a look at how the Avandia settlement and the controversy over the Avandia and Actos TIDE trial may affect you.
GlaxoSmithKline has reportedly agreed to settle 700 lawsuits for approximately $60 million. How this settlement affects you depends on where you are in the lawsuit process, if you are involved at all.
Obviously, if you’re one of the 700 lawsuits that have been settled, then your lawsuit is now done; you’ll receive your share of the settlement and no longer have to worry about the litigation.
If you are one of the remaining lawsuits (reported to number in the thousands), how this settlement affects you is less clear. Details about the settlement have been kept quiet. Based on how big businesses operate, my guess (this is just speculation here) is that GlaxoSmithKline has not admitted to any wrongdoing (something most businesses attach to their settlements). The settlement, however, shows that the drug maker is willing to sit down with plaintiff’s lawyers to negotiate, which could be a good thing for the remaining lawsuits.
That said, there is no guarantee that a settlement in those 700 initial lawsuits will translate into a settlement for the remaining lawsuits. It’s a good sign, but it’s no guarantee.
If you are considering contacting a lawyer but haven’t done so yet, the statute of limitations might be running out for you. One of the things that plays into how much time you have to file is whether or not your state follows a discovery rule. What’s that? Basically, it’s the point in time in which an individual would have likely been aware that a claim could be made against a defendant—or that a claim existed. In the case of Avandia, that would mean the point at which a person most likely knew they suffered an injury related to taking Avandia—the point at which Avandia users became aware that Avandia had been linked to heart attacks. GSK has put that date at May 2007. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have disagreed stating that the date was actually later. Why does it matter? Because for states that follow a discovery rule, that date of discovery marks the time at which the clock starts ticking for an Avandia lawsuit’s statute of limitations.
The Avandia statute of limitations will vary by state—as it will with regard to filing any lawsuit—but rather than take chances it might be best for you to contact an attorney sooner than later. An attorney can tell you for sure if you have a case, rather than you wondering for the rest of your life if you might have had a case.
Also in the news lately are the calls from critics to put an end to the TIDE (Thiazolidinedione Intervention in Vitamin D Evaluation) trial, which compares Avandia’s safety to the safety of rival drug Actos. The basis for the argument to end the trial is that the trial puts participants’ safety at risk by having them be on a medication that could be harmful when a less harmful drug exists (the critics say).
So far, the trial has not been stopped, although the FDA is reportedly considering the matter and will make a decision after a July advisory committee meeting.
If you’ve read about the TIDE trial, you might be concerned about how taking Avandia affects you. After all, critics are saying that the risk of harm to patients makes the study unethical. There is no easy answer about what to do.
All I can say is that if you are currently taking Avandia and are concerned about it, you should speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking Avandia on your own. Your doctor can advise you about what you should do and can discuss the risks versus the benefits of continuing Avandia.