GlaxoSmithKline has settled a lawsuit in the USA, the trial for which was scheduled to start this week, which was claiming that the company's controversial diabetes drug Avandia caused the death of a man in 2006.

The case, which was due to be heard in a Philadelphia court, had been brought by the family of James Burford, The cardiovascular safety profile of Avandia (rosiglitazone) has been debated for a number of years - in September, European regulators said the pill should be withdrawn from the market, while major restrictions were placed on Avandia in the USA.

Now GSK has decided to settle the Burford case and issued a statement saying that "there are many circumstances where a company may determine to resolve certain matters in order to avoid the inherent risks and significant costs of litigation". However, the company stressed that it "continues to stand behind the safety and efficacy of Avandia when used appropriately and according to its label".

In the second quarter last year, GSK took a £1.57 billion charge to settle lawsuits related to Avandia but now says it has continued to receive new product liability cases regarding the pill in the USA.This week, its fourth-quarter results (to be unveiled on Thursday) will reveal that another £2.2 billion has been set aside, some of which relates to Avandia lawsuits.