Attorneys Vie to Represent MO in Lawsuit

Related Story

JEFFERSON CITY - Combined, a group of attorneys across the country donated more than half a million dollars this year to Attorney General Chris Koster and Governor Nixon's campaigns.  The attorneys are vying to represent the state in a lawsuit Governor Nixon described as a $400 million case. 

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, some New Mexico attorneys lobbied Koster to let them sue, on behalf of Missouri, a company that makes a diabetes drug.  The drug, Avandi, has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.  After the New Mexico attorneys donated $25,000 to Koster's re-election campaign, he opened up bidding for lawyers to represent Missouri in the case.  The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports Koster said he did not act in response to the donations and the selection process will be left up to a panel of law professors. 

Missouri taxpayers are entitled to hundres of millions of dollars of the settlement.  Through Medicaid, the state has had $43 million in direct Avandia-related expenses.  Koster said the state would also pursue a $1,000 fraud penalty for each of the $350,000 Avandia prescriptions issued in Missouri.  Koster said, "...Let's call it a $400 million case."