Avandia is a drug produced by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to treat diabetes. The drug makes fat cells more responsive to insulin to control blood sugar levels. It was approved for use in 1999 and quickly became a top seller for GSK, reaching an annual revenue of $3.2 billion in 2006.
Avandia sales, however, dropped to $1.2 billion in 2009 after a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine linked the drug to a 43-percent increased risk of heart attack and a 64-percent higher risk of cardiovascular death compared to patients treated with other methods.
Moreover, research from the Mayo Clinic revealed that 90 percent of scientists who wrote favorable articles about the drug had financial ties to GSK.
But despite the risks, a committee of independent experts still recommended that Avandia remain on the market, with an FDA oversight board voting 8 to 7 to accept the advice.
Now the truth has come out that GSK went to great lengths to hide the dangerous Avandia side effects that it had known all along.
The Avandia Deception: Profit over Patient Safety
In 1999, GSK began a study to compare Avandia with Actos, another diabetes drug. GSK found that their product did not work any better than Actos, and that it posed greater risks to the heart. The drug company did not report their findings to federal regulators as required by law–likely to avoid an Avandia recall.
The New York Times uncovered documents wherein GSK stated that they could lose $600 million from 2002 to 2004 if Avandia side effects were made public. The Times also obtained a sealed deposition that included testimony from Dr. Rosemary Johann-Liang, a former FDA drug safety office supervisor who left the FDA after she was reprimanded for recommending that Avandia be given a “black box” warning for congestive heart failure risks.
Dr. Mercola believes that the FDA has known about the drug’s dangers for quite some time, but still has not ordered an Avandia recall. The ignored warning signs go back several years:
• In 2003, GSK completed a study in which diabetics given Avandia suffered far more heart problems than those given a placebo.
• Two months later, the World Health Organization told GSK that they linked Avandia use to heart ailments.
• In 2004, GSK’s Global Safety Board ordered a review of all of Avandia’s clinical trials. The company completed two reviews of their own data and discovered that Avandia increased the risks of serious heart problems by nearly one-third. It is a very significant finding since two-thirds of diabetics die of heart problems!
• In 2009, an analysis done by the Institute for Safe Medication Practice showed that Avandia ranked number one among ALL prescribed drugs in the number of serious, disabling, and fatal problems!
Dangerous Drugs are Not the Cure for Diabetes!
The underlying cause of diabetes cannot be successfully treated by using drugs, Dr. Mercola explains. Conventional treatment is focused on fixing the symptom of elevated blood sugar rather than addressing these two conditions – insulin resistance and faulty leptin signaling–both of which can be regulated by making simple lifestyle changes.
Dr. Mercola believes that type 2 diabetes is virtually 100 percent avoidable and can be effectively treated without medication. Check out this Mercola article for more information on how to treat diabetes naturally.