As the Avandia scandal grows, new details are emerging on the researchers who’ve been pushing this bad med on you– even after they knew of the clear risks and problems associated with it.
It turns out that behind the scenes, one of the key researchers was a certain Mr. Green–and a new study shows how nearly all of the scientific articles in favor of Avandia were written by people with financial ties to the drug’s manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline.
Money certainly talks!
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic looked at 202 studies, opinions and commentaries on Avandia that appeared after a 2007 study in the New England Journal of Medicine linked this med to a 43 percent increased risk of heart attacks in diabetics.
And what they found would trouble anyone who hopes for fair and impartial science: Almost 90 percent of researchers who had a favorable opinion of the drug had financial ties to the company, while just 6 percent of the pro-Avandia crowd had no financial ties of any kind to the drug industry.
But wait–it gets even worse, because a quarter of the researchers didn’t bother to disclose their financial ties when they wrote about Avandia, according to the study published in BMJ.
Avandia has suffered through a long and troubled history, and the most recent chapter is by far the worst. A recent U.S. Senate report blamed this drug for 83,000 heart attacks between 1999 and 2007.
Already, the pressure is growing on the FDA to halt Avandia sales–even from inside the agency, as two of its own reviewers have publicly urged it to pull the plug on this bad med.
And it actually has been pulled off the market… in Saudi Arabia. Here in the United States, however, the feds merely issued a statement telling patients they should keep right on taking their potentially dangerous pills while the agency continues its eternal review process.
To put it bluntly: The Saudis have beaten us to the punch on drug safety.
I don’t know what our own watchdogs are waiting for– there’s no real reason to keep this drug on the shelf. Even if you want to believe that meds are the best way to control diabetes, there are far safer alternatives available.
But even those come with unnecessary risks. They might be better–but only because they’re not quite as deadly.
If you really want to take control of your condition, you can do so much more for yourself through lifestyle changes such as careful dieting and steady exercise. In fact, many diabetics who’ve committed to reshaping their lives can get by without drugs or even insulin.
Edward Martin is a health journalist who writes about today's most pressing health issues. He chronicles the most cutting-edge alternative methods for beating everything from diabetes to cancer and reports on the latest FDA foul-ups and Big Pharma conspiracies.