Louisiana AG sues GSK over Avandia

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Louisiana Attorney General (AG) Buddy Caldwell, on behalf of the state, filed a civil action suit against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), formerly SmithKline Beecham, claiming that the pharmaceutical maker “wrongfully and illegally marketed, priced, sold and promoted the diabetes medication rosiglitazone, under the trade names Avandia, Avandamet and Avandaryl.

The AG alleges that GSK’s actions violate Louisiana’s Medical Assistance Programs Integrity Law (MAPIL), the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protections Law and other state laws. The suit also claims that Louisiana’s Medicaid program paid GSK approximately $36.13 million for fraudulently induced Avandia reimbursements.

“I am committed to pursuing those who prey on our citizens and our state Medicaid program,” Caldwell said. “This type of exploitation jeopardizes our economy, our health and in some cases our lives. Our focus on these perpetrators sends a message of zero tolerance for such fraud and abuse.”

The AG’s office said it is working with the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) on these cases. DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein said, “I welcome Attorney General Caldwell’s tough stance in helping us protect precious Medicaid dollars. It is terribly disturbing that a company this size would take advantage of people by offering misleading information and take funds away from those who need it most. We are committed to rooting out abuse and misuse of Medicaid money wherever it occurs and to working with the Attorney General to ensure accountability for those who prey on the system.”