Apparently there has been a somewhat silent debate raging behind the scenes at the FDA over the diabetes drug Avandia, where some felt that it was a definite cause behind several occurrences of heart attacks in patients who were taking
it every month (which is clearly unacceptable), and others felt that the studies that were conducted to determine this were not in fact, conclusive. Avandia is actually still a best selling drug, and at one point it was actually the most successful, top selling drug of all. You can see why the debate was raging, there was a lot of money at stake if this drug were suddenly pulled from the market,
and of course there was a lot of financial interest in it staying on. A panel decision did find that patients should have been warned more about the increased risk of heart attack while on the drug.
In 2007 though, a cardiologist did a study that suggested that Avandia was hurting patient’s heart health, and the drug’s sales of course went way down in response to such a shocking finding. Doctors who agree that Avandia has substantially
increased patient’s risk of heart attack are really pulling for patients to go with a different diabetes drug called Actos, which does not exhibit the same risks as Avandia does.
So, what does this mean from here? Well, obviously I’m sure sales of the drug will go down even further from here, although they still have millions of patients on their roster and are still making a nice profit on it. The FDA has not outright ordered that it be pulled from shelves yet, but we’ll see where it goes from here.
There are quite a few people who feel it should be totally removed from the market, but there are also people who believe that the finding s are not conclusive enough to take that drastic of an action, and that diabetes patients and their doctors should still be given a choice of drugs, including Avandia.