The Senate committee started their investigation after the New England Journal of Medicine published a study in May 2007 warning of the possible cardiovascular risk of Avandia. Avandia entered the market in 1999 and reached annual revenue of $3 billion by 2006, including sales of a combination drug that includes Avandia. Sales plummeted to $1.2 billion in 2009, two years after that study was published which linked Avandia to a 43 percent increased risk of heart attack. Before that the drug was the company’s second best selling drug, and they did everything to protect sales, rather than users of the drug.
The Senate report provides incredible details on how the drug company pursued countless awful tactics to thwart many efforts to reveal to the public and the medical community just how unsafe Avandia is. The report notes: “The totality of evidence suggests that GSK was aware of the possible cardiac risks associated with Avandia years before such evidence became public.… Based on this knowledge, GSK had a duty to sufficiently warn patients and the FDA of its concerns in a timely manner. Instead, GSK executives intimidated independent physicians, focused on strategies to minimize findings that Avandia may increase cardiovascular risk, and sought ways to downplay findings that the rival drug ACTOS (pioglitazone) might reduce cardiovascular risk.”
The company continues to fight to keep its drug in the market. You can imagine the army of lobbyists being used to safeguard the interests of drug companies.
Put aside the anti-government rhetoric of the Tea Party movement. The critical need is not for less government but for government that really works in the public interest, especially protecting consumers from dastardly corporate powers. Until that happens it is not surprising that the recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that two-thirds of Americans are dissatisfied or angry about the federal government. Nearly 75 percent of independents felt this way. If you think that voting in either Democrats or Republicans will fix broken government, think again. Both major parties are corrupted by corporate interests.