This week, Honorable Cynthia M. Rufe of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania rejected GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) request to exclude three plaintiff experts from testifying about the health risks associated with taking the diabetes drug, Avandia.
The national Avandia multidistrict litigation is coordinated in front of Judge Rufe. Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) is established when civil actions involving one or more common questions of fact are pending in different districts. Cases subject to MDL are sent from where they are filed around the country to the coordinating court for all pretrial proceedings and discovery matters.
The three experts that GSK wished to exclude from the proceedings were designated by the Avandia Plaintiff’s MDL Steering Committee to testify and provide their expert opinions. GSK claimed that the three experts used unreliable methods for reaching their conclusions that Avandia may cause myocardial infarction (heart attack) in diabetic patients. In order for an expert to provide his or her opinion testimony in must meet the standard outlined in the U.S. Supreme Court case entitled Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms. Inc. (1993) 509 U.S. 579: they must demonstrate that they have good grounds for their causation opinion (i.e. the opinion is based on methods and procedures of science, not subjective belief) and a reasonable degree of scientific certainty regarding their causation opinion.
Here, Judge Rufe denied GSK’s motion to exclude the experts and held:
“Each of Plaintiffs’ three experts have consulted an extensive body of epidemiological research to support their conclusions, and evaluated and weighed the quality and usefulness of the various studies. Although the conclusions differ from the conclusions reached by GSK’s experts, generally speaking the epidemiological studies relied upon by Plaintiffs’ experts are the same studies consulted by GSK and the FDA in their evaluation of the risk profile of Avandia.”
Click here if you want to read the Avandia Experts Order.
In California, Honorable Carolyn B. Kuhl, Judge of the Superior Court for Los Angeles, appointed Thomas J. Brandi to one of the five leadership positions on the Plaintiffs Steering Committee in the California consolidated Avandia litigation. Click here to read more about the Brandi Law Firm Avandia Attorneys.