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State to get $8.5M in settling Medicaid fraud lawsuit

Published December 9, 2013 5:42 pm

Litigation • Attorney general's office says GlaxoSmithKline product had undisclosed dangers.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The state of Utah will collect $8.5 million from GlaxoSmithKline as part of the settlement of a lawsuit that alleged the drug giant defrauded the state's Medicaid program through allegedly false and misleading marketing of the diabetes drug Avandia.

GlaxoSmithKline introduced Avandia in 1999 as a new treatment for Type II diabetes that was suppose to sensitize cells to insulin and assist in blood-sugar control.

While the company marketed Avandia as a "wonder drug," studies showed it increased the risk of heart attacks among some users, according to a lawsuit filed in November of 2010 Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Utah Attorney General's Office.

"This settlement is a great outcome in a complex case," Robert Steed, director of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, said in a statement.

The two sides reached a settlement to dismiss the case last month.