BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) - Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler announced a $15 million settlement Tuesday with GlaxoSmithKline LLC to resolve allegations of improper prescription drug marketing.

GSK allegedly engaged in the improper marketing of the prescription drugs Avandaryl, Avandamet and Avandia, three drugs used in the treatment of diabetes. The settlement is the result of a lawsuit filed by Gansler under the Maryland False Health Claims Act and other legal theories in February 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," Gansler said. "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."

GlaxoSmithKline allegedly touted the three diabetes drugs as superior to other diabetes medications, even though they were not actually better at treating the disease. Gansler's lawsuit also alleged the company withheld data demonstrating that the three drugs significantly increase a patient's chances of suffering a heart attack or other serious adverse events. The lawsuit alleged that despite GSK's knowledge of these risks, the company continued to promote the drugs as safe for use.

The state of Maryland bought Avandia, Avandamet and Avandaryl through the Medical Assistance Program, the State Retiree Prescription Drug Plan and the Employee Prescription Drug Plan.


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