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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

The Kentucky lawsuit is the latest in a series of costly legal entanglements for the drug company.

Last year, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $3 billion in fines — the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history — for criminal and civil violations involving 10 drugs, including Avandia. The company also reached an agreement with multiple states regarding its promotion of Avandia.

Kentucky opted out of the multi-state settlement "because we thought the amount was insignificant compared to the value of the case," Conway spokeswoman Shelley Johnson said Thursday.

The diabetes drug triggered patient lawsuits and a U.S. Department of Justice investigation. In 2011 the company updated the labeling of Avandia to include safety restrictions ordered by federal health authorities because of the drug's links to heart attack.

The Food and Drug Administration first approved Avandia in 1999, and it became the top-selling diabetes pill in the world, with more than $3 billion in sales by 2006. But its use plummeted after a 2007 analysis first linked the drug to heart attacks.