Louisiana accuses GSK of Avandia fraud

Louisiana is suing GlaxoSmithKline over Avandia, thus joining a long list of plaintiffs seeking a piece of the company's legal-expenses fund. Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is alleging that Louisiana's Medicaid program paid GSK more than $36 million for Avandia-related reimbursements based on fraud. The suit seeks damages and restitution.

The diabetes drug was pulled in Europe and restricted in the U.S. last year after a protracted debate over its safety. Thousands of patients have sued GSK, alleging the drug caused their heart attacks and other health problems; a slew of new claims filed after the regulatory moves prompted the company to set aside more money to cover potential settlements.

According to Caldwell's suit, GSK violated Louisiana's Medical Assistance Programs Integrity Law, the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protections Law, and other state laws. "This type of exploitation jeopardizes our economy, our health and in some cases our lives," he said in a statement. "Our focus on these perpetrators sends a message of zero tolerance for such fraud and abuse."

GSK hasn't commented on this case, but it has previously defended its handling of Avandia and the drug's potential safety problems.

- check out the release from AG Caldwell's office
- read the story in The Advocate