Md. to Receive $15M from GlaxoSmithKline for Improper Marketing of Diabetes Drugs

Gansler: Company misled state health care programs, consumers about popular diabetes drugs Avandia, Avandamet and Avandaryl; Prescription medications dramatically increase risk of heart attack

BALTIMORE (December 17, 2013) – Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced the state has recovered $15 million from GlaxoSmithKline, LLC, resolving allegations that the company engaged in improper marketing of the prescription drugs Avandia, Avandamet and Avandaryl, all of which are used to treat diabetes. The settlement is the result of a lawsuit filed last February by the Office of the Attorney General against GlaxoSmithKline in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

“The distorted promotion of these drugs put diabetes patients at serious risk by misrepresenting the facts concerning their safety and usefulness,” said Attorney General Gansler. “Consumers should know the whole truth about the medications they get and taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay the cost for such behavior by the drug maker.”

The lawsuit, filed under the Maryland False Health Claims Act and other legal theories, alleged that GlaxoSmithKline touted the drugs as superior to other diabetes medications even though they were not, in fact, better at treating the disease. The lawsuit also alleged that the company withheld data showing that its three drugs dramatically increase a patient’s chances of suffering a heart attack or other serious adverse events. The lawsuit further alleged that despite its knowledge of these risks, GlaxoSmithKline promoted the drug as safe for use.

The state purchased Avandia and the other drugs through the Employee Prescription Drug Plan, the State Retiree Prescription Drug Plan, the Medical Assistance Program and other state health care programs.

To see the settlement agreement visit:

For a redacted version of the complaint filed under seal by order of the court visit:

Source: Office of Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler

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