GSK Paid Scientists To Write Glowing Reviews Of Avandia
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GSK Paid Scientists To Write Glowing Reviews Of Avandia

Sunday, June 27, 2010By Richard Alexander

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has repeatedly showed that it will go to any lengths to keep its dangerous diabetes drug Avandia on the market, and more evidence of its unethical and immoral conduct has just emerged.

This time, the facts show that GSK was not alone in its efforts to mislead both federal regulators and patients who believed that Avandia would provide a safe and effective treatment for their diabetes. This time, GSK had lots of help from its friends in respected scientific and medical positions.

The problems for Avandia users began when the drug first came on the market in the late 1990s. Back then, some researchers expressed strong concerns that Avandia posed an increased risk of severe personal injuries and wrongful death from heart attacks and other heart problems. GSK responded by threatening some of those researchers into silence, and Avandia sales soared.

By 2007, the dangers associated with Avandia were no longer just theories. Almost a decade of use had turned researchers’ concerns into documented facts, and an analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine (JAMA) that year showed a 43% increase in the risk of heart attacks for patients who used the drug.

Since that kind of publicity isn’t good for sales, GSK threw open its checkbook and paid scientists to write favorable articles about Avandia. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic have recently concluded an analysis of more than 200 articles written about the drug after the JAMA report appeared, and the findings are scary.

Ninety-four percent of the writers who expressed favorable views received funding or fees from a pharmaceutical company. Almost 75% of the authors who expressed negative views of Avandia had no financial ties to manufacturers of diabetes medicines.  The researchers concluded that the financial ties between scientists and drug companies may help to explain why the authors’ opinions were so different.

“We aimed to determine whether financial conflicts of interest with pharmaceutical manufacturers could be fuelling this fire,” wrote the researchers, led by Amy Wang, a resident in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic. “From our findings, it appears that the answer is yes.”

This is a story that’s scary for everyone who has used Avandia, but the damage doesn’t end there. It shows that pharmaceutical companies will do anything necessary to keep dangerous drugs on the market, and it shows the total failure of the FDA’s drug approval process.

Simple logic says that the only way to decide whether a drug’s benefits outweigh its risks is to conduct independent testing, but that’s not how the FDA operates. Instead, the agency makes its decisions after reviewing studies conducted by drug manufacturers on their own products. As the drug companies have consistently demonstrated, falsifying reports and paying researchers to write favorable reviews are simply part of the cost of doing business.

These latest disclosures of wrongdoing from GSK show that the FDA’s incompetence is putting every American consumer at risk, but the FDA’s ineptitude does not absolve GSK and other unethical drug companies of responsibility for their actions.

GSK knew that Avandia was a dangerous drug before it went to market, and the long list of heart attacks and wrongful deaths that Avandia has caused are predictable results of its use.

Analysts say that GSK faces as much as $6 billion in liabilities because of personal injuries caused by Avandia, and the evidence that the company bribed scientists to write favorable reports is another clear indicator of GSK’s guilt.

If you or a loved one has become a victim of Avandia and GSK, contact one of the Avandia injury attorneys in our office. Make GSK pay for the damage that it has willingly done to diabetes patients.

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Richard Alexander

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