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FDA: No Decision on Whether to Pull Diabetes Drug Avandia Off the Market
Date:2/22/2010

d that, "I await the recommendations of the advisory committee. Meanwhile, I am reviewing the inquiry made by Senators Baucus and Grassley and I am reaching out to ensure that I have a complete understanding and awareness of all of the data and issues involved."

In a statement released Saturday, GlaxoSmithKline said it "rejects the conclusions about the safety of Avandia (rosiglitazone)" as reported in that day's Times story.

"Contrary to the assertions in the story, and consistent with the FDA-approved labeling, the scientific evidence simply does not establish that Avandia increases ischemic cardiovascular risk or causes myocardial ischemic events," the company said. "In 2007, the FDA considered all the available scientific evidence on Avandia, including Dr. Graham's assertions of elevated heart attack risk and demands that the product be withdrawn. Based on the scientific evidence and a recommendation by an independent advisory committee of experts convened by the FDA, the agency has ruled that Avandia remain available to patients for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes."

In the wake of the controversy, GlaxoSmithKline had been directed by the FDA to conduct a trial comparing rates of heart attacks, strokes and heart-linked deaths among users of Avandia, Actos or a placebo. But according to internal documents accessed by the Times, Graham and Gelperin characterized the study, called TIDE, as "unethical and exploitive," with patients being given Avandia despite the fact that it appears to come with greater risks and no added benefit over Actos.

One of the Graham/Gelperin reports -- dated October 2008 -- concludes that, "Although the proposed TIDE trial is motivated by a desire for definitive answers regarding the cardiovascular safety of the drug rosiglitazone, the safety of the study itself cannot be assured and is not acceptable."

However, other FDA officials overruled those concerns and TIDE is stil
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