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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Drug giant will reportedly pay some $60 million to settle some 700 lawsuits over its diabetes drug Avandia, Bloomberg news reported Monday afternoon.

A company spokesperson, Mary Anne Rhyne, declined comment to Bloomberg.

GSK operates its U.S. headquarters in RTP and employs some 4,000 people in the Triangle area.

Bloomberg cited “people familiar with the accords” as its sources for the story.

The suits allege Avandia is linked to heart attacks and strokes in some users.

Personal injury lawsuits over Avandia post a risk of , according to analysts at UBS. The Associated Press and the U.K. Guardian both reported details of the UBS research note in March.

“As US Avandia contributes 1% to sales, our concerns are solely on personal injury lawsuits,” the UBS note written by Gbola Amusa said as quoted by the Guardian. “Experts we polled suggest Glaxo’s liability is in the range of $1bn to $6bn. We expect liability below the midpoint of this range and note Glaxo has underperformed by around $2.5bn already.”

A U.S. Senate report said in February that GSK knew of possible heart attack risks tied to Avandia, its diabetes medication, years before such evidence became public.

GSK issued a statement rebutting the report’s conclusions.

However, a powerful member of Congress called on the FDA to stop Avandia sales two days after the Senate report.

“I strongly urge the FDA to remove Avandia from the market until a truly independent, science-based advisory panel can evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the drug,” said Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro in a statement published on her Web site. “It is reprehensible that many people might have suffered heart attacks or heart failure as a result of taking this drug, especially if a safer alternative exists.

“The safety and efficacy of a prescription drug should be based on independent, science-based evidence, and not a drug company’s interpretation of what constitutes science-based evidence,” she added. “The Avandia case provides further evidence that patients should not trust drug companies with their health.”

DeLauro is chairwoman of the U.S. Agriculture-FDA Appropriations Subcommittee.

For the Bloomberg report,

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