US group claims that diabetes drug should be banned

Mon, 23 Apr 2012
A major consumer watchdog group in the United States has recommended that the diabetes drug Victoza (also known as liraglutide) should not be available and has demanded that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban it from sale.

The group, called Public Citizen, has claimed that the drug - manufactured by pharma giant Novo Nordisk and taken to treat type 2 diabetes - is putting patients at risk from a range of conditions, such as kidney failure, thyroid cancer and pancreatitis.

They have petitioned the FDA about the daily injectable drug, which mimics the hormone GLP-1 to trigger the production of insulin when levels of blood sugar levels become too high, and is usually only prescribed if other diabetes medications have not worked properly.

The director of Public Citizen, Sidney Wolfe, commented "More and more people are taking this drug, and more people are experiencing serious health problems as a result. Clearly, the FDA's warning system is not sufficient. The drug should be taken off the market."

Novo Nordisk responded that they are "committed to patient safety and rejects Public Citizen's assertion that the benefits of Victoza are outweighed by its risks." The company say they are working with the FDA and the medical community to assess the most appropriate use of Victoza, and argue that labelling on the drug indicates its safety profile, and that there is not a sufficient case for its withdrawal from the market.
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