Diabetes Drug Avandia Under Fire
Written by Faith Anderson on June 15, 2011
What is Avandia?
Avandia (rosiglitazone) is a pharmaceutical drug manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline which belongs to a class of anti-diabetic drugs called thiazolidinediones. These drugs function by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin. The drug has been on the market since 1999 as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes and was once considered the best-selling diabetes drug in the world. However, in the past few years, studies have emerged concerning the life-threatening side effects potentially associated with Avandia, including heart attack, heart failure, stroke and heart disease. Since information about the heart risks linked to Avandia emerged, sales of the drug have plummeted.
Adverse Side Effects of Avandia Use
In 2007, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study in which researchers indicated that patients taking Avandia had a substantially increased risk of suffering from a heart attack, and an increased risk of death from cardiovascular events, compared to patients taking other anti-diabetic drugs and patients receiving no anti-diabetic treatment. In November of that same year, the FDA required GlaxoSmithKline to add a “black box” warning to Avandia’s label, warning patients about the risk of heart attacks associated with the drug.
Regardless of mounting evidence concerning the increased risk of Avandia heart attacks, the FDA decided against an Avandia recall in 2010. Instead, the agency announced that it would restrict the use of Avandia in the United States to patients who are already taking a rosiglitazone-containing medication, patients who cannot successfully control their Type 2 diabetes with any other drug, and patients who have medical reasons for not taking a pioglitazone-containing anti-diabetic drug. These FDA restrictions were just put into effect this year.
GlaxoSmithKline Faces Charges of Fraud, Negligence
The recent class action lawsuit was filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court in Illinois on behalf of forty-three plaintiffs who alleged that GlaxoSmithKline was aware of the potential Avandia heart risks as early as 2005, but failed to adequately alert patients of this risk. Plaintiffs are holding GlaxoSmithKline and subsidiaries SmithKline Beecham Corporation and McKesson Corporation accountable for an alleged breach of warranty, misrepresentation, fraud and negligence. They are seeking damages in excess of $650,000 for medical expenses, loss of income and court costs.
Legal Help for Victims of Avandia Side Effects
It is estimated that Avandia has been prescribed to nearly six million people since it entered the market in 1999. Because the side effects associated with Avandia are so severe, the FDA has advised patients taking Avandia to consult their physicians to discuss alternative treatment options. In fact, after November 2011, patients will no longer even be able to obtain Avandia from a retail pharmacy. If you or a loved one has suffered from a heart side effect which you believe to be linked to Avandia, contact an Avandia attorney to discuss your legal options. Thousands of Avandia lawsuits have already been filed against GlaxoSmithKline for failing to warn patients about the heart risks associated with Avandia use. You may be entitled to reimbursement for your injuries, loss of income, pain and suffering, and medical bills, which you can collect by filing an Avandia lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline.