Hundreds of people taking Avandia, a controversial diabetes medicine, needlessly suffer heart attacks and heart failure each month, according to confidential government reports that recommend the drug be removed from the market, writes Gardiner Harris of the New York Times.
The article continues:
The reports, obtained by The New York Times, say that if every diabetic now taking Avandia were instead given a similar pill named Actos, about 500 heart attacks and 300 cases of heart failure would be averted every month because Avandia can hurt the heart. Avandia, intended to treat Type 2 diabetes, is known as rosiglitazone and was linked to 304 deaths during the third quarter of 2009.
“Rosiglitazone should be removed from the market,” one report, by Dr. David Graham and Dr. Kate Gelperin of the Food and Drug Administration, concludes. Both authors recommended that Avandia be withdrawn.
The internal F.D.A. reports are part of a fierce debate within the agency over what to do about Avandia, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. Some agency officials want the drug withdrawn because they believe there is a safer alternative; others insist that studies of the drug provide contradictory information and that Avandia should continue to be an option for doctors and patients. GlaxoSmithKline said that it had studied Avandia extensively and that “scientific evidence simply does not establish that Avandia increases” the risk of heart attacks.
The battle has been brewing for years but has been brought to a head by disagreement over a new clinical trial and a Senate investigation that concluded that GlaxoSmithKline should have warned patients earlier of the drug’s potential risks.
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'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
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