The FDA ruled today that the diabetes drug Avandia should stay on the market, despite a study that concluded the drug increased the risk of heart attack by 43%.
Since the study was published, Consumer Reports has come out in favor of older drugs:
Diabetes drugs received wide attention last spring when research found a possible link between rosiglitazone (Avandia) and a higher risk of heart attacks. While those risks remain unclear, the CR Best Buy Drug report cites other reasons that rosiglitazone and the related drug pioglitazone (Actos) are not wise first choices for most people with diabetes, including their higher risk of heart failure compared with other diabetes drugs.
Consumer Reports that patients should first ask their doctors about metformin (Glucophage and generic), claiming that the effectiveness of the older drugs are equivalent to the newer ones, but with less potential risk.
The FDA claims that they can’t pull the drug because the research is “inadequate”. According to the Today show the drug pulls in about $3.2 billion in sales per year for its manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline.
GlaxsoSmithKline’s representative claimed that the drug couldn’t be pulled from the market because “it’s not like there’s a risk-free alternative here.” Risk-free. No. Comparable effectiveness with potentially less risk? Consumer Reports would say there is.