Consumers typically depend on drug manufacturing companies, the FDA and their doctors to determine what drugs are effective and safe for them to take. Unfortunately, it is far too common for pharmaceutical companies to conceal side effect information from the FDA, which allows the FDA to make decisions based on inadequate information. While doctors are well-informed of the benefits and risks of a variety of medications, their training can only go so far for each drug, and they depend heavily upon the expertise of the FDA and drug companies.
Millions of Americans have high cholesterol and millions more are well on their way. While cholesterol is an essential component of the body’s ability to function, elevated level of cholesterol can cause major health issues. In response, drug manufacturing companies have developed a number of drugs, like Crestor, to help lower cholesterol levels and decrease an individual’s risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Unfortunately, many of these medications come with side effects of their own, some more debilitating than the high cholesterol itself.
Crestor, a type of statin drug, was approved by the FDA in 2003 to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, or types of fat, in the blood. Statins are well-known as powerful medications and Crestor was marketed by AstraZeneca as the most powerful and potent of all statin drugs. Since the drug’s inception, and even before, consumer interest organizations have voiced their concerns about the safety of Crestor, and a group called Public Citizen has even petitioned to have the drug recalled. According to researchers, the drug’s extremely potent standard dose exposes many individuals to a much more intense treatment than is necessary. This has resulted in the development of a number of harmful conditions, including type II diabetes.
Type II diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, is a chronic disease characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood. Diabetes is a disease affecting the way the body makes or uses insulin. Insulin is required in order for the body to move blood sugar, or glucose, into cells where it is stored and later used for energy. For individuals suffering from type II diabetes, the body’s fat, liver and muscle cells do not respond correctly to insulin and glucose is unable to enter the cells. This causes blood sugar to build up in the blood, resulting in hyperglycemia. Although high levels of blood sugar will cause the pancreas to constantly produce more insulin, it is not enough to keep up with the body’s demand. Type II diabetes occurs gradually and some affected individuals may not experience any symptoms at all. Other may suffer from blurred vision, fatigue, increased appetite, increased thirst, frequent infections that are slow to heal, and increased urination.
Crestor has been associated with a number of life-threatening conditions, including type II diabetes, liver damage, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, stroke, heart attack, and rhabdomyolysis, which can result in acute kidney damage. Despite these risks, the FDA did not recall Crestor; in fact, it did the exact opposite. In 2010, the FDA approved a wider use of Crestor, allowing the drug to be marketed as a preventative measure for individuals who do not have high cholesterol but who may be at risk for developing it, according to age, levels of blood pressure, and levels of C-reactive protein, which is considered a marker associated with cardiovascular disease. This approval for an expanded use of Crestor came on the heels of a study which determined that the drug may decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke in individuals with only slightly elevated cholesterol levels but with an elevated C-reactive protein level. The study was sponsored and financed by AstraZeneca and, because of this new indication, Crestor may now be made available to 6.5 million healthy Americans.
The widely respected statute for determining the value of medications is to establish whether or not the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks involved. Unfortunately, a recent study published in The Lancet, Britian’s leading medical journal, indicates that treating healthy individuals with Crestor can increase their risk of developing type II diabetes by nine percent. According to The New York Times, the Lancet study was based on an extensive analysis of most of the major clinical trials involving statins. The study included unpublished data and the results of the Crestor clinical study that was reviewed by the FDA before the expanded use of Crestor was approved. In response to this potential danger, the FDA only required AstraZeneca to include diabetes as a side effect on Crestor’s label.
Crestor has been heavily marketed by AstraZeneca as a powerful, effective and safe way to reduce elevated cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, Crestor has been associated with serious health conditions which significantly outweigh the benefits of the medication, some of which were apparent to both the FDA and AstraZeneca before the drug was even approved for the market. Furthermore, the determining factor which allowed Crestor to be marketed as a preventative measure to healthy individuals was a study financially supported by the drug’s own manufacturing company, and was led by the man who invented the C-reactive protein test, which was the study’s main source of supporting evidence. If the side effects of a drug are far more prevalent than the benefits for people who actually have high cholesterol, how can the pharmaceutical company find it safe and appropriate to make the drug available to healthy people as well? The only way to protect your rights as a consumer and stand up to the negligent and deceptive practices of drug manufacturing companies is to contact a Crestor attorney and discuss the benefits of filing a lawsuit.
Defective drug lawsuits not only emphasize the importance of the introduction of safe drugs, but also reinforce the need for more strict regulations on the harmful drugs currently on the market. Victims of injury or illness resulting from the use of Crestor are not at fault. Drug manufacturing companies should be held accountable for the dangerous side effects associated with their drugs and the injuries sustained by consumers of their drugs. If you or a loved one has suffered from type II diabetes and you believe Crestor to be the cause, contact a Crestor lawyer to collect the compensation you are entitled to.