Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has come under fire in recent years for paying doctors to promote drugs, according to Mercola.com. The practice is, surprisingly, a legal one, and “widespread in the drug industry.” At the end of 2013, however, Glaxo announced that it would stop the practice, as well as stop “compensating its sales representatives based on the number of prescriptions that doctors write,” according to Mercola. One such drug promoted by Glaxo to doctors was Avandia, a diabetes pill that was banned in Europe in 2010.
In 2011, according to Bloomberg News, GlaxoSmithKline “agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve U.S. criminal and civil investigations into whether the U.K. company marketed drugs for unapproved and other matters.” Despite the fact that Avandia had been banned in Europe, the FDA did not do so, though access to the drug was restricted. At the end of last year, however, several of those restrictions had been removed, according to a different Mercola article.
According to Mercola, Avandia leads to a 43 percent increase in risk of heart attack, and “a 64 percent higher risk of cardiovascular death than patients treated with other methods.” The study that led to the approval of restrictions being lifted was conducted by GlaxoSmithKline at the request of the FDA.
The Glaxo study was in direct opposition to earlier findings reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, stating that Avandia did not in fact lead to increased risk of heart attack or failure. The drug is still banned in Europe. CNN reports that Dr. Thomas Marciniak, an FDA scientist who was privy to the Glaxo study, said that Glaxo “ignored several cases of patients who suffered adverse effects.”
The restrictions put in place in 2010 did limit the number of patients who were taking Avandia, however. According to CNN, 120,000 patients were prescribed Avandia in 2010 as compared to 3,000 patients who were taking Avandia as of June 2013.
If you or a loved one is one of those 3,000 and has experienced any negative side effects while using Avandia, you may be eligible for compensation. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights medical malpractice attorney today.