U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe has appointed a mediator to, “preside over settlement negotiations” for Avandia lawsuits consolidated before her in Philadelphia. The company has a 75-day deadline to resolve 85 percent of the remaining lawsuits. Patrick A. Juneau, a Louisiana attorney, will mediate.
Avandia maker GlaxoSmithKline Plc. will pay $3 billion to resolve the criminal and civil claims that it illegally marketed the diabetes drug. GSK settled some 10,000 earlier lawsuits filed against the company claiming that Avandia caused heart attack and stroke, for over $700 million. It is estimated that GSK is facing approximately 20,000 lawsuits filed in state courts and consolidated under Rufe, as well as some that have been stayed.
GSK stopped marketing Avandia across the globe last year after studies showed the drug caused an increased risk of heart attack. Avandia was withdrawn from the European market after publication of the studies, and its sales have been limited in the U.S.
If Juneau is unable to resolve the percentage of cases within the deadline, Rufe will put 100 lawsuits into a trial pool for jury presentation within 60 days.