Updated: 7:51 p.m. Monday, Jan. 5, 2015 | Posted: 4:40 p.m. Monday, Jan. 5, 2015
Action 9: Man waits years for money after $3 billion Avandia settlement
It was one of the biggest drug settlements in U.S. history.
The drug company paid all of the money. But, years later, one local man, Terry Tribble, says he still hasn’t seen a dime.
“My God, what happens if I(die) while waiting on them to sign a paper and issue the money?” Tribble said.
Glaxo SmithKline (GSK) agreed to pay more than $3 billion for problems caused by the diabetes drug Avandia. Patients claimed that the drug increased their risk of heart problems and stroke. Thousands sued, including the federal government and more than 45 states.
GSK settled for $3 billion with the federal government. It agreed in November 2012 to pay $90 million to North Carolina and 37 other states. It settled for $229 million with South Carolina and seven other states in July 2013. GSK also settled private lawsuits. Those terms are confidential.
GSK said it “settled these matters to avoid the expense and uncertainty of protracted litigation and trial. The company did not admit to any wrongdoing or liability of any kind under these state laws in this settlement.”
Tribble said he lived with diabetes for close to two decades. “You just live in constant fear of: Are you going to live today? Are you going to live tomorrow?” he said.
Then came Avandia. He said the drug worked wonders. But, then, he claimed, he started having heart problems.
GSK put the settlement money in escrow. Since then, it’s been up to various resolution groups to distribute the pot accordingly. But Tribble said he hasn’t seen any of the money.
“They just keep putting it [off], putting it [off], putting it [off],” he said.
Action 9 contacted the Ohio-based resolution group handling Tribble’s claim. Because of privacy reasons, it won’t say if he’s entitled to part of the money. In fact, under the Avandia settlement, it couldn’t even say how many people are still waiting or when they can expect a payout.
Even though GSK has paid the money and is no longer part of the process, it did exchange a number of emails with Action 9. The company said:
“The principal reason funds may remain in escrow is that the courts have required that a portion of the funds be paid to certain health insurers who provided coverage to settling claimants. GSK must rely on the claimants and their attorneys, who often engage lien resolution administrators, to identify and inform the appropriate health insurers of the existence of the settlements and to negotiate an agreement concerning the precise portion of each claimant’s settlement that will be received by the claimant’s insurer. The process of resolving the insurers’ claims can be time consuming, although note that GSK is not a part of this process. GSK’s interest is only that settlement proceeds get distributed accurately.”
Avandia remains on the market.