According to the St. Claire Record former Judge from St. Clair County, Judge Michael O’Malley, is part of a legal team leading two separate product liability suits filed the same day in Madison and St. Clair counties over the diabetes drug Avandia. O’Malley retired as judge on July 30th to join a St. Louis personal injury firm. When he was judge, he presided over at least one class action against drug companies. In 2005, he certified a case against Bay and GlaxoSmithKline, over the cholesterol fighting drug Baycol. The Illinois Supreme Court overturned O’Malley’s ruling in 2009. In the Avandia suits filed October 1st, O’Mailley is taking on GlaxoSmithKline as an adversary.
According to the suit residents Ida Akins and Allen McAllister say GlaxoSmithKline was wrong in selling a diabetes drug without first warning of potential serious side effects from which they suffered. Walgreens is a co-defendant in both suits. Akins and McAllister claim they used Avandia to treat their type 2 diabetes mellitus, but suffered severe injuries, one of which was a heart attack, from their ingestion of the drug. The defendants are being accuses of negligence, negligent pharmaco-vigilance, a breach of express warranty, a breach of implied warranty, fraud, and a failure to warn. They say both GSK and Walgreens are liable for their injuries because they created and heavily marketed Avandia as safe, despite knowing the drug posed a substantial health risk to patients with type-2 diabetes.
Avandia’s potential risks and side effects have led critics to suggest that Avandia should be removed from the shelves. Yet, the FDA has not bothered to properly warn the public of its potentially fatal effects. Instead they merely issued a black box warning. In 2007, a study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic and published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that Avandia increases the risk of a heart attack by 43 percent and concluded that Avandia increased the risks of cardiovascular death by 64 percent. Now accusations have been made that the drug’s manufacturers, GlaxoSmithKline, withheld data that showed problems with Avandia and neglected to properly warn the public and users of the drug of its potentially fatal side effects.
Those who criticize the FDA contend that the same department that is responsible for investigating a new drug’s risks is the same department that decides drug approval, leading critics to believe that this fact poses a sincere conflict of interest-and that any information about risks that are discovered should be forwarded directly to the FDA commissioner, instead of being passed through various levels of bureaucracy within the FDA. Because heart attacks are the leading cause of deaths in diabetics, the risks of heart attack associated with the use of the drug should have been released to the public sooner. Had the FDA acted done that, perhaps many injuries and deaths could have been prevented. If you or someone you love thinks that they may have been hurt from using Avandia, contact the Brod Law Firm to learn more about your options.