This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 7, 2007 11:07 AM. The previous post in this blog was At least they did something. The next post in this blog is They don't know what they're missing. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Side effects may include death, or a nice vacation in Fiji

The safety issues with two diabetes drugs, Avandia and Actos, are evolving into a real scandal. Both of them can cause serious heart problems, even death. And their dangers have been known for years, while regulators have dragged their feet in taking action. Thanks to some recent scientific publications and some crusading lay journalism, the heat has been turned up sufficiently that strong action is now going to be taken.

Too late for some victims, of course.

The drug company that makes Avandia -- GlaxoSmithKline -- has been fighting back over the last few days with serious spin advertisements. Yesterday it took out a full page, and another half page, in the Times, apparently to try to ease worried patients' minds.

Among the things it said was this: "Like any medication, Avandia is not appropriate for all patients. Your doctor is the best resource for information about your health and is in the best position to determine if Avandia is right for you."

What they don't mention is that while you're talking to your doctor, you might want to ask him or her how much in money or other perks he or she has been taking from GlaxoSmithKline. You don't have to be the world's most alert observer to notice that doctors are receiving payoffs -- legal, ethical, or otherwise -- from drug companies all the time.

"Ask your doctor about ________," the pill manufacturers always say on their ridiculous ads. To themselves, they're adding, "We've got him on our payroll."

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