Supreme Court denies Glaxo appeal, allowing Humana to sue the drugmaker

 The U.S. Supreme Court Monday denied a request by drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline to hear its appeal of a decision by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which allowed health insurance giant Humana to sue Glaxo over sales of Glaxo's controversial diabetes drug Avandia.

The Third Circuit is based in Philadelphia and the original suit was filed there. Glaxo also has a huge presence in the city and surrounding suburbs.

Glaxo agreed to pay paid millions to settle lawsuits over the Avandia and has agreed to reimburse Medicare for the cost of treating Medicare patients. But a small slice of Medicare law allows private insurers who run Medicare Advantage programs to sue under similar reimbursement scenarios. Glaxo had sued to stop the lawsuits and hoped that conflicting opinions among courts of appeal might prompt Supreme Court review of the underlying law.

Glaxo issued a statement, saying, "We are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant review in the Humana matter; other circuit courts have disagreed with the Third Circuit as to whether Medicare Advantage Organizations have a right of action against settling defendants."

A link to Glaxo's appeal to the Supreme Court is here.