SALT LAKE CITY — Utah will get $8.5 million from GlaxoSmithKline for defrauding the state’s Medicaid program through allegedly false and misleading marketing of Avandia.

GSK introduced Avandia in 1999 as a new diabetic medication to treat Type 2 diabetes by helping sensitize cells to insulin and thereby assisting in blood-sugar control.

The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the attorney general’s office filed the lawsuit in 2010 and alleged GSK marketed Avandia nationwide as a “wonder drug” and as a “significant advance” in diabetes treatment.

The lawsuit also alleged Avandia has been proven to increase the risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks, among certain users of Avandia.

“This settlement is a great outcome in a complex case,” said Robert Steed, director of the Medicaid fraud unit.

— Dennis Romboy