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Second opinion: Bad news for Glaxo

Bottles of Avandia diabetes medication

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: GlaxoSmithKline's second-biggest selling drug, Avandia, is in trouble again. German researchers say the diabetes medication doesn't work, and it could even be harmful. Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: The German research is pretty damning.

Dr. Bernd Richter of Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf found no evidence that Avandia brought any benefit to diabetes patients.

On the other hand, he said, there was plenty of evidence of negative side effects, including weight gain and bone fractures and, more worryingly, an increased risk of heart attack.

Dr. Bernd Richter: We found what is called oedema, that is swelling in the ankles and the lower limbs which could be the first step towards heart failure, was approximately doubled.

His findings are a fresh embarrassment for Glaxo.

A U.S. researcher came to similar conclusions about Avandia earlier in May. Analysts then slashed their earnings forecasts and the Glaxo share price slumped. A Glaxo spokesman dismissed the German findings as inconclusive.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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