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September 26, 2006
Diabetes Drug Avandia Touted as Preventative
GlaxoSmithKline is touting its diabetes drug Avandia as a way to prevent diabetes in those who are at risk. Some are asking if healthy people taking a pill with serious possible side effects is wise and are suggesting diet and exercise instead.
Indeed, a recent drug trial showed those taking Avandia had a slight increase in heart failure rates as well as weight gain. Putting people who don't even have diabetes at risk for these things is silly. It's just like putting postmenopausal women on Fosamax to prevent osteoporosis even though their bone density scores are fine.
Not enough sick people in the world? Drug companies will invent them!
From the viewpoint of pharmaceutical companies nothing looks better than a pill that healthy people take every day for the rest of their lives. Anti-cholesterol statins, with U.S. sales exceeding $15 billion a year, serve as the shining example. It is hardly surprising that GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Avandia, along with two other drug companies, paid for the DREAM trial and actively publicized the results.