Warning over diabetes drug causes uncertainty

Tue, 22 May 2007
A fresh safety alert issued by the Food and Drug Administration in America, over a popular and widely prescribed drug for type 2 diabetics, indicates an increased risk of heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease amongst patients taking it. The warning was prompted following a report in the New England Journal of Medicine .

The problem is by no means small, with an estimated 1 million diabetic patients taking Avandia as part of their healthcare routine. The FDA advised patients to discuss their risk of heart problems with their doctors .

An expert at the heart of the study which prompted the warning, Dr. Curt Furberg, a drug-safety professional at Wake Forest University, reportedly commented: "When I look at the totality [of the findings], there's enough for me to pull it."

Avandia is made by GlaxoSmithKline, one of the major global pharmaceutical corporations. They instantly attacked incomplete data, on a drug that generated $2.8 billion in sales last year.

The implications are wider, with Furberg commenting that this: "represents a major failure of the drug-use and drug-approval process in the United States."
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