One of the key risks for people with diabetes is heart attacks. The diabetes medication Avandia is known to cause heart attacks, which doubles the risks for diabetic patients. Insurance analysts say that the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline knew of these risks and had not only ample time, since they knew of the dangers long before the link became public knowledge, but a duty to warn patients and the FDA of the dangers of Avandia. Yet they did nothing.
No one was made aware of the dangers of Avandia until a U.S. senate report came out in early 2010.This could leave GlaxoSmithKline at risk for several billion dollars in lawsuits. The senate report is also asking why the FDA continued to run clinical trials of Avandia after they caused an estimated 83 thousand heart attacks between 1999 and 2007.
Avandia does carry a warning that states that a review of 42 studies show that Avandia is associated with an increased risk of heart attack or chest pain. But how much effort is expended to truly educate patients about the risks of Avandia?
Physicians prescribe Avandia to their diabetic patients to relieve the symptoms of diabetes. Patients take it, and many may not even read the information because they trust their doctors. The drug company has a responsibility to these people and to those who do read the information but may not realize just how serious the risks are.
Apparently several reviewers have made motions to have Avandia removed from the market over the past few years, yet when it came to a vote the motion got shut down. FDA researchers who have reviewed the recent senate report claim that the information in the report was taken out of context.
Frankly I don’t care what the context is, when it comes down to a medication causing me to have a heart attack, when the illness I have already puts me at risk seems an awful lot like tempting fate. Whether Avandia is removed from the market or not, patient education about the risks is essential, diabetics need to know the risks involved before taking Avandia.