GSK settles multiple lawsuits in California, aims to avoid protracted litigation

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GSK settles multiple lawsuits in California, aims to avoid protracted litigation
Credit: © Reuters.

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline PLC (NYSE: GSK ), a prominent player in the Pharmaceuticals industry as per InvestingPro Tips, has confidentially settled several lawsuits in California, including the Cantlay/Harper case and three bellwether cases related to breast cancer. These cases alleged that Zantac, GSK's discontinued heartburn drug, was carcinogenic. The settlements led to GSK's dismissal from these cases, a move that the Brentford-based company has chosen to avoid the distraction of protracted litigation.

The Cantlay/Harper trial, which was originally scheduled for November 13, will now be dismissed. This follows a similar outcome in June when GSK settled with claimant James Goetz. This strategy comes as GSK faces numerous lawsuits concerning the alleged cancer-causing properties of Zantac.

GSK, with an adjusted market cap of $76.25B according to InvestingPro data, has not admitted liability despite these settlements. The company continues to assert its commitment to "vigorously defend" against all remaining Zantac lawsuits. This stance is "based on the facts and the science," according to the company.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to pull Zantac off shelves in 2020 led to thousands of lawsuits against GSK. A judge had previously denied GSK's attempt to prevent expert testimony associating Zantac with cancer.

GSK, which has maintained dividend payments for 23 consecutive years according to InvestingPro Tips, faced a hefty £45m legal bill in the previous year. Yet, it continues to deny liability in these confidential settlements. The company's approach was communicated to investors as GSK shares rose 1.1% to 1,538.60 pence in London trading on Wednesday. The company's shares have been trading near their 52-week high, with a return of 10.55% over the last three months.

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