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Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Glaxo takes out newspaper ads to defend Avandia

Glaxo defends Avandia with newspaper ads


"The ads, which appeared in newspapers such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, take the form of a letter to Avandia patients signed by Ronald Krall, chief medical officer of the world's second-largest drugmaker.

The unusual step comes a day before a scheduled U.S. congressional hearing on the Food and Drug Administrations role in evaluating the safety of Avandia, and a day after the first solid data became available on the medicine's eroding prescription numbers.

Avandia, known chemically as rosiglitazone, came under fire last month after an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested the type 2 diabetes treatment might raise the risk of heart attack by 43 percent and of cardiac-related death by 64 percent. The analysis, by a top U.S. cardiologist, Steven Nissen, drew on pooled data from 42 trials involving nearly 28,000 patients.

Glaxo has been on the defensive ever since, putting out news releases criticizing the so-called meta-analysis and methods used in reaching its conclusions and defending the safety of the $3.2 billion (1.6 billion pound) a year product; trotting out executives to discuss Avandia safety with the media; and publishing a letter in the Lancet medical journal saying large studies showed Avandia's cardiovascular safety to be comparable to other widely used diabetes treatments."

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