What to do about Avandia?

Bottles of Avandia diabetes medication

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: The controversial diabetes drug Avandia has been a problem for its maker, GlaxoSmithKline. Research has concluded the drug carries the risk of heart attack. Now, the British pharmaceutical giant may have to cut its sales force in response. From London, Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: Glaxo is still insisting that what was once its second-best selling drug is safe. But the company is nevertheless revising its marketing plans. One analyst quoted in the British press suggests that Glaxo could cut its Avandia sales force in the U.S. by 5 percent.

Sales of the drug have slumped, and its future looks uncertain. A study by a leading cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic has raised serious concerns. He warned that patients on Avandia were much more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. Another study by German researchers came to the same conclusion.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering the matter. Some of the FDA's advisors have already recommended that Avandia carry a health warning.

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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