Avandia’s Safety Issues Began from the Outset

The NY Times is reporting this morning that as early as 1999 GlaxoSmithKline were secretly trying to determine the safety and effectiveness of its blockbuster diabetes drug Avandia. In the spring of 1999, the pharmaceutical company ordered a secret study comparing Avandia with rival Actos made by Takeda. The results were not good. The study showed that Avandia was no better than Actos in treating diabetes. However, it did beat Actos in one category-it was much more dangerous for the heart.
According to the NY Times, GlaxoSmithKline spent the next 11 years trying to hide the results of these early tests. Rather informing the public of Avandia’s risks, the pharmaceutical company decided to bury the report and engage the public and the federal government in a massive cover-up. Funds that could’ve been spent on research and development to improve the poor-performing Avandia went instead to a PR campaign built on lies and obfuscation.
Today, the NY Times published an excerpt from one of the emails that discusses the cover-up, “Dr. Martin I. Freed, a SmithKline executive, wrote in an e-mail message dated March 29, 2001, about the study results that was obtained by The Times. “Per Sr. Mgmt request, these data should not see the light of day to anyone outside of GSK,” the corporate successor to SmithKline.
It would take another six years before the first public critique of Avandia saw the light of day. In the interim, thousands of unsuspecting doctors and diabetes patients took Avandia not knowing they were putting themselves at an increased risk of heart attacks.
Avandia Class Action Lawsuit