Feds Further Link Avandia to Heart Risk
FDA, Senate reports lambaste GlaxoSmithKline, want to yank drug
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2010 7:09 AM CST
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks in this 2006 file photo in Des Moines, Iowa. The government's evaluation of the diabetes pill Avandia confirms the heart risks reported in a study earlier this week,...   (AP Photo/Matthew Putney, File)
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(Newser) – Some 800 people every month suffer heart attacks or heart failure because of the diabetes medication Avandia, according to government reports obtained by the New York Times. Under fire since 2007, the GlaxoSmithKline drug was linked to 304 deaths in the final quarter of last year and hundreds of thousands still take it. Avandia “should be removed from the market," concludes one FDA study unequivocally.

Not only does Avandia pose a significant cardiovascular risk, according to the reports, but a competing drug exists that is equally effective without the dangers. A bipartisan Senate committee report expected Monday also lambastes the drugmaker for not warning patients of the risk earlier. Committee co-chair Max Baucus says, "Patients trust drug companies with their health and their lives, and GlaxoSmithKline abused that trust."