The U.S. Supreme Court justices are scheduled to have one of their regular conferences to consider what cases they will decide to hear in full and one of the possibilities pits drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline against health insurer Humana.
The case is GlaxoSmithKline v. Humana Medical Plans, Inc., 12-690.
The gist of the case is disagreement over whether Medicare laws allow private insurance companies to sue a provider of care (GSK in this instance) for double damages in certain situations when the patient is a Medicare beneficiary using a Medicare Advantage health plan.
This dispute is part of the lingering litigation that GSK is fighting in the wake of the mess that was Avandia, its diabetes drug that was once a top seller. Part of the problem is that from 2001 to 2007, federal prosecutors said, GSK withheld safety data about heart concerns from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Besides thousands of suits by patients alleging harmful side effects, the company paid $3 billion to settle charges brought by the U.S. Justice Department that involved marketing practices. The company leaders from 2001 through 2007 are no longer GSK leaders.