As consumers, we expect that a drug which has undergone extensive testing and been approved by the FDA is not only effective but also safe. Unfortunately, there are a number of things which can affect the determination of the safety and effectiveness of drugs, many of which consumers are unaware of. In some cases, drug manufacturing companies may conceal the more serious side effects of a medication in an attempt to expedite FDA approval. On the other hand, some drugs are approved through the FDA’s accelerated program, allowing the medication to be available to the public before clinical testing has been exhausted. Unfortunately, both of these practices subject victims to potentially dangerous medications without accurate knowledge of the risks they may be exposing themselves to.
Avastin, an anti-cancer medication currently manufactured by Roche Pharmaceutical’s Genentech, was approved through the FDA’s “fast track,” allowing patients suffering from severe medical conditions early access to the drug. The FDA approved Avastin in 2008 because of the drug’s possible meaningful clinical benefit, but imposed the condition that the drug would be studied in further clinical trials in the meantime. Further research has indicated that Avastin may cause a number of significant and potentially fatal medical complications, including heart attack. Unfortunately, the drug has already been made available to the general public.
A heart attack occurs when the blood vessels that deliver blood to the heart are blocked, preventing enough oxygen from reaching the heart. Without an adequate oxygen supply, the heart muscle becomes damaged and may begin to die. The most common symptoms associated with heart attack are chest pain and shortness of breath, but others include:
Some people may show little to no signs or symptoms during a heart attack, which is sometimes called a “silent heart attack.” Many heart attacks happen slowly and begin as mild pain or discomfort, and in some cases the symptoms may come and go over a short period of time.
Although the FDA recently revoked the drug’s indication for treating breast cancer patients, Avastin is still available as a treatment for individuals with brain, kidney, lung and colon cancers. This means that a significant amount of consumers are still vulnerable to the catastrophic dangers associated with Avastin. The FDA’s decision came on the heels of research which indicated that not only does Avastin not prolong survival in breast cancer patients, but also puts them at risk for developing life-threatening side effects. According to FDA regulations, in order for a drug to be approved and remain on the market, the possible benefits of the medications must outweigh the potential risks. Unfortunately, Avastin doesn’t seem to have passed that test. In fact, Avastin has been shown to increase the risk of potentially fatal side effects by nearly 50% when used in combination with chemotherapy, as compared to the risk of chemotherapy treatment alone. Furthermore, in an analysis involving 10,000 breast cancer patients, 5,589 of which were treated with Avastin and chemotherapy, 148 Avastin consumers died, compared to 72 patients who were treated with chemotherapy alone. The recent FDA announcement removing the breast cancer indication from Avastin’s label determined with finality that the drug has not been shown to be effective or safe for that use.
Heart attacks are currently the leading cause of death for both men and women worldwide. Approximately 1.1 million people suffer from a heart attack in the United States, nearly half of which are fatal. By allowing drugs like Avastin to be available to the public before they have been adequately tested, drug manufacturing companies and the FDA put consumers at risk for developing major, life-threatening side effects including heart attack, heart failure, stroke and perforation of the GI tract. The only way to protect your rights as a consumer and receive adequate reimbursement for your Avastin injuries is to consult an Avastin attorney to discuss the benefits of filing a defective drug lawsuit. Victims of defective drug injuries are not at fault, and pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for the dangerous side effects associated with their medications. If you or a loved one has suffered from a heart attack associated with the use of Avastin, contact an Avastin lawyer to determine your legal options. Experienced Avastin attorneys are extremely qualified and will help victims of Avastin injuries collect the compensation they are entitled to.