Federal regulators have debated for several years whether or not diabetes drug Avandia should remain on the market. The problem is that it seems to raise the risk of heart attacks and Avandia is not the only drug of its kind available.
But Glaxo, which makes Avandia, was frightened that one of its big sellers would get yanked from the shelves, so the company began pressuring scientists, including Dr. John Buse at UNC, to drop the criticism. The drug maker’s behavior was appalling.
Now the FDA is examining the drug again and asked the company to send a letter to physicians summarizing the federal hearing where researchers presented evidence against Avandia. The doctors are part of a drug trial comparing Avandia to another drug. But the trial raises ethical issues because Avandia may be dangerous.
Let’s just say that more than a few people thought the letter sent by Glaxo glossed over some critical information.
This is a crucial issue for many consumers around the country, and many lives are certainly at stake. Glaxo should stop pushing Avandia at all costs, and it’s time we let the science speak.