Diabetes patients taking the drug Avandia have lower medical costs and make fewer healthcare related visits, GlaxoSmithKline said in a new study reported on Sunday night.

Avandia has been under attack since an article in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine raised concerns about heart disease in Avandia patients.

Last week, GSK was sued by the family of an Avandia patient who died.

The study, which was conducted by Analysis Group, said Avandia patients had $1,065 per month in direct medical costs per month vs. $1,315 per month for patients on sulfonylurea therapy. Lower in-patient and out-patient costs were lower as well, $718 vs. $1,046 per month.

GSK released the study at the American Diabetes Association’s annual conference in Chicago.

"The study findings demonstrate that treatment with Avandia resulted in significantly lower total medical costs for the patient over time, when compared to sulfonylurea therapy,” said Mei Sheng Duh, co-author of the study. “These data are important to physicians selecting treatment for their patients because the financial burden of diabetes and its associated health problems is staggering — not only to patients but to their families and the healthcare system as well.”