Andrea Dearden Jul. 15, 2013, 2:24pm

A Chesterfield man and dozens of other patients are suing the makers of a diabetes drug they say causes heart problems.

Philip Richard Wenthe and 72 other people from across the country filed a lawsuit June 25 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against SmithKline Beecham Corporation, doing business as GlaxoSmithKline.

According to the complaint, GSK began marketing the Type 2 diabetes medication Avandia in 1999 after receiving approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration. Wenthe says it has since been prescribed to nearly six million people in the United States.

The plaintiffs claim GSK knew the consumption of Avandia increased the risk of heart problems, including heart attacks and congestive heart failure, say the company but did not warn its patients. They allege the manufacturer's own tests, performed in 2005, showed this to be true yet GSK did not put a warning label on Avandia until 2007.

The patients contend GSK is liable for the injuries they received because of the consumption of Avandia. They each ask for more than $100,000 in damages for medical expenses, loss of income and court costs.

Wenthe, and the rest of the class, is represented by attorneys Christopher Cueto and Michael Gras, of Belleville, and Robert L Salim of Natchitoches, La.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 13-L-318

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