Support for Avandia Ban Grows

The chorus of anti-Avandia advocacy and medical groups continues to increase. In spite of the growing concern about the diabetes drug Avandia, its maker GlaxoSmithKline PLC continues to defend the safety of its drug. “We do not believe there is a connection between liver toxicity and this medicine.”
This in spite of two respected medical groups advising against the use of Avandia. American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes said members of a joint medical panel “unanimously advised against using” Avandia.
On Thursday, the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen called on the FDA to ban the drug. The FDA originally approved Avandia in 1999. Public Citizen noted that Avandia carries with it more risks than heart attacks. It cited 14 cases of Avandia-induced liver toxicity and failure. In spite of the fact that GlaxoSmithKline had not read Public Citizen’s report, it denied its veracity anyway. The company said, “We do not believe there is a connection between liver toxicity and this medicine.”
The FDA said it will carefully review the new findings. However, it did acknowledge that the federal agency is split on how to deal with the Avandia issue. Avandia was originally approved to fight Type 2 diabetes and the accompanying high blood glucose levels.
Avandia has an interesting history. It was brought to market after the Rezulin recall. In approving Avandia, the FDA never said it was safe. Rather, it stated that Avandia posed a lesser risk than Rezulin. (That’s not a ringing endorsement of any drug.) Early on in its marketing of Avandia, GlaxoSmithKline ran into difficulties with the FDA over its misleading marketing practices. The FDA warned Glaxo that it was promoting Avandia without giving proper attention to its potential dangers and side effects.