UnitedHealth wins access to GSK plaintiff names

A Philadelphia judge has opened the door for UnitedHealth to file subrogation claims against GlaxoSmithKline on behalf of some of its members who may have been injured by the drugmaker's products. Judge Mark Bernstein ruled GSK must hand over the names of UnitedHealth members who have sued the company over its drugs Avandia and Paxil, Law.com reports.

The health insurer is planning to file suit against GSK, claiming injuries on behalf of insured members. UnitedHealth had asked the drugmaker for the names of members who had sued or settled with the company, but GSK refused, citing confidentiality. But Bernstein said that confidentiality provisions in settlement deals don't apply to disclosure of basic name-and-contact information.

GSK has settled thousands of suits over Avandia, which was pulled from the market last year in Europe and restricted severely in the U.S. on worries about cardiovascular safety. It's also settled a host of suits over Paxil, including claims involving birth defects and psychiatric side effects. There's no way of knowing now how many of those people are UnitedHealth members--but presumably, the insurer will soon find out.

- read the story from Law.com