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Ky. attorney general sues maker of diabetes drug

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm •  Published: February 21, 2013

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's attorney general has joined in the flurry of legal action against a British-based drugmaker, filing a lawsuit accusing the company of concealing the cardiovascular risks associated with a diabetes drug.

The suit claims that GlaxoSmithKline LLC violated the state's Consumer Protection Act by overstating the effectiveness of the prescription drug Avandia and hiding its risks from consumers. Instead of reducing cardiovascular risks faced by diabetics, as the drug maker claimed, the one-time blockbuster drug actually increases those risks, Attorney General Jack Conway said Thursday.

"We will not stand idly by as drug companies operate outside of the law and put Kentuckians' health at risk," Conway said.

As of 2010, more than 370,000 Kentuckians were diagnosed with diabetes, Conway's office said. Kentucky was near the top nationally in diabetes cases and cardiovascular deaths, according to 2011 statistics supplied by the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The suit filed this week in Franklin County Circuit Court in Frankfort seeks an injunction against the company's allegedly deceptive business practices. It also seeks civil penalties up to $10,000 per violation.

GSK spokesman Kevin Colgan said the company was reviewing the lawsuit.

"We believe we acted diligently and properly in studying Avandia, in sharing study results with regulators and health-care providers and in marketing the medicine," he said in a statement. "We welcome the opportunity to defend ourselves and our medicines before a jury, and we are committed to continuing to develop medicines that will improve the health and lives of patients with serious illnesses."

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