What is Avandia and why are GSK facing legal claims for its damaging effects?
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has been the source of heightened media attention in recent times after making payments in the US amounting to $3bn for withholding data on the diabetes drug Avandia.
In 2007, following clinical trials involving 28,000 patients, a strong link was forged between Avandia and heart attacks. This evidence was supplemented in 2010 when Avandia users were predicted to be 27% more inclined to have a stroke; 25% increased chance of heart failure; and 14% more likely premature death. The US Food and Drug Administration estimates Avandia may potentially have been responsible for 100,000 heart attacks.
Avandia (the trade name for Rosiglitazone) was widely available in the UK between 2000 and 2010, the year that the European Drug Regulator ordered it to be taken from the shelves. It was also available as Avandamet – a mix of Rosiglitazone and Metformin.
GSK have settled 20,000 lawsuits in the US but seem reluctant to offer the same terms to UK citizens with the pharmaceutical giant seemingly ready to fight their case in the courts. Recently covered in the Guardian, Express Solicitors is hoping that the publicity fallout from the US scandal will encourage former UK users to pursue their cases.
There is a clear legal disparity between the US and the UK – possibly due to things like governing bodies and legal procedures – but UK citizen should have the same rights as their US counterparts; a view supported by Express Solicitors who hope some of Avandia’s 90,000 UK users may come forward. There were one million UK prescriptions of Avandia in 2009 alone; the year previous to the drugs withdrawal. A leading pharmacologist suggests that Avandia could have been responsible for 1,000 heart attacks and 600 cases of heart failure each year in the UK.
Express Solicitors will fight each case on a “no win, no fee” basis, which is essential as legal aid is set to be withdrawn for medical negligence in the UK. The drug trade is a $600bn industry where rigour and the controlled distribution of information is a right that must be pursued.
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Photo: Ian Wilson