Trying to sort things out, in December of 2009 Woodcock asked officials at the FDA to convene another advisory committee to determine whether Avandia should remain on the market, with a decision expected this summer.
In the meantime, a bipartisan Senate investigation -- overseen by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Sen. Charles E. Grassley(R-Iowa) -- has pored over 250,00 internal documents from GlaxoSmithKline. The investigation has placed much of the blame for the Avandia debacle on the company, contending that it neglected to warn patients for years of the drug's dangers.
"G.S.K. executives attempted to intimidate independent physicians, focused on strategies to minimize or misrepresent findings that Avandia may increase cardiovascular risk, and sought ways to downplay findings that a competing drug might reduce cardiovascular risk," according to the Senate investigation report, which is slated for release Monday but was obtained early by the Times.
Speaking to the newspaper Friday night, agency commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said 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. Grahams assertions of elevated heart attack risk and demands that the product be withdrawn. Based on the scien
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