GSK wraps up another 25,000 Avandia suits

GlaxoSmithKline has settled almost 25,000 more Avandia cases. The deal comes after a Philadelphia judge brought in a mediator to handle settlement talks and set a deadline for wrapping up 85% of the outstanding claims, Bloomberg reports. And it follows years of Avandia-related legal issues that GSK ($GSK) is working to resolve.

The company has set aside more than $5 billion to cover government probes and patient litigation stemming from Avandia and its marketing of the diabetes drug, which has been withdrawn in Europe and severely restricted in the U.S. Late last year, GSK agreed to pay $3 billion to end ongoing probes by the U.S. Justice Department and state attorneys general around the country. The drugmaker has also agreed to settle tens of thousands of Avandia patients' claims.

"The majority of the cases in total have been settled," spokeswoman Bernadette King told Bloomberg. "The cases have to be reviewed and the precise numbers determined at some point to see which cases qualify under the settlements." The payments will come from funds already set aside for the purpose, she said.

It's not clear whether Judge Cynthia Rufe's 85% goal was met, but the judge did say "there aren't a lot of cases left to be tried" and not all of those will make it to trial. "Mediation will no longer be the focus of this court's effort," Rufe said (as quoted by Bloomberg). "We will resolve the remaining cases through litigation."

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