A week after GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) reached a $3 billion federal settlement over claims it illegally marketed Avandia and other drugs, the drugmaker now faces pressure to resolve the thousands of Avandia patient lawsuits that remain.
Judge Cynthia Rufe, U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, appointed a mediator to oversee settlement negotiations for Avandia cases before the Philadelphia judge, Bloomberg News reports. Rufe set a 75-day deadline to resolve 85 percent of the unspecified number of remaining cases.
Rufe’s order appoints Lafayette, Louisiana lawyer Patrick Juneau to mediate the cases. Juneau’s firm claims he has mediated more than 2,000 cases, including product liability litigation over heartburn drug Propulsid that involved thousands of claimants throughout the country.
British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has its U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Cases concerning diabetes drug Avandia stretch back over the last decade. The former blockbuster drug came under its heaviest scrutiny last year as concerns about cardiovascular risks linked to the drug mounted in the United States and abroad. U.S. and European regulators last year slapped heavy restrictions on Avandia that all but barred the product from the market.
The $3 billion federal settlement is expected to cover civil and criminal liabilities arising from the federal probes. Bloomberg reports that GSK earlier this year agreed to more than $700 million in patient settlements that resolved more than 10,000 cases. But an untold number of patients’ lawsuits are still unresolved.
“GSK welcomes the court’s mediation order and looks forward to constructive discussions with the special master,” GSK spokeswoman Bernadette King told Bloomberg.