Avandia Settlement Update

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May 6, 2001.
We’ve reported a lot on Avandia this year. It is a drug, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. It is being associated with heart attacks and liver failure. There are 13,000 filed lawsuits over the drug, and GSK just settled about half of them, including the case first up for trial this month in Philadelphia.

In May, GSK settled 700 lawsuits to the tune of $60 million. We don’t know how it was divided, but if it were divided equally (no reason to think it was), each plaintiff would have received $85,714.00 in the Avandia settlement. Now, GSK settled approximately 5,000 more Avandia claims. We don’t know the amount, but this represents about 44% of the Avandia cases. Assuming that the amount was consistent with the first settlement, GSK has now paid about $488,569,800, nearly half a billion. As all the analysts say, this puts their expected total exposure at much less than the predicted $6 billion (just as we predicted way back when).

Of course, this is all guesswork. Maybe GSK is settling all of the crappy cases, first. Maybe their settling the best cases first. Maybe the recent settlement was for numbers far higher, or far lower, than the May settlement. I’m telling you that this is a very large grain of salt.