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State AG sues maker of diabetes drugs for false advertising

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said Wednesday he has filed a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline, LLC for falsely saying three of its diabetes drugs were better than others on the market.

The company also withheld data that showed the drugs – Avandia, Avandamet and Avandaryl – increase a patient's chance of suffering a heart attack, liver damage, excessive fluid retention and other adverse effects, the lawsuit alleges. The company promoted the drug as safe, sometimes using doctors in marketing efforts.

The state spent more than $38 million on the drugs through various health programs. It is seeking to recoup that money as well as the cost of treating patients who suffered side effects. It also seeks money for violating laws such as the false advertising statute.

A Glaxo spokesman said the company is reviewing the lawsuit. "We believe we acted diligently and properly in studying Avandia, in sharing study results with regulators and healthcare providers, and in marketing the medicine. We welcome the opportunity to defend ourselves and our medicines before a jury, and we are committed to continuing to develop medicines that will improve the health and lives of patients with serious illnesses, including those in Maryland," the company said in a statement.

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