Glaxo Pays $41 Million to Settle U.S. Drug-Quality Issue

At issue was the poor quality of a plant in Puerto Rico that is now closed.

To settle allegations of poor drug quality at a manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico, British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline said on June 24 that it is paying $41 million.

The company did not admit to any wrongdoing at the now shuttered factory, but said it agreed to the settlement "to avoid the expense and uncertainty of protracted litigation and trial."

The payment will be distributed across 37 states and the District of Columbia.

"The company did not admit to any wrongdoing or liability of any kind under these states' consumer protection laws in this settlement," the statement said. At the center of the dispute is a plant in Cidra. A company insider told the US news show 60 Minutes in January that contaminated and poorly dosed medications were being produced there. A federal investigation ensued.

GlaxoSmithKline rejected the accusations and said there was no evidence that patients had been harmed.

Federal regulators, the U.S. Department of Justice and the whistelblower Cheryl Eckard's attorney, "all stated there was no indication that patients were harmed as a result of the production issues at Cidra," the company said in response to the CBS report.

GlaxoSmithKline said it closed the plant in 2009 because of "declining demand for the medicines made there."

Before selling the factory in 2010, the drugmaker insisted it "brought it into compliance and to a high level of performance that satisfied both GSK and the FDA."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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