June 8, 2007

Researcher threatened with $4B Suit for Avandia Warning

Here, from the Boston Globe, are more details about how John Buse, the mainstream researcher who will be the next ADA presidents, was threatened by GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Avandia, for calling attention to its tendency to cause heart problems.

Scientist says executive of Avandia firm tried to bully - Boston Globe

From the article:

"An executive of the company that makes the diabetes drug Avandia said a researcher who was among the first to link it to heart problems would be held liable for the $4 billion GlaxoSmithKline PLC lost in stock value as a result of his findings, Dr. John B. Buse testified before congressional investigators yesterday.

This information came from testimony, under oath, to congress.

"Buse told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that he raised concerns about Avandia's connection to heart problems in 1999 , the year the Food and Drug Administration approved it for sale. He said the Glaxo executive, Dr. Tadataka Yamada, made the "disturbing" comment during a meeting Yamada had with Buse's department chair at the University of North Carolina." [emphasis mine]

Those of you who keep defending the drug companies really need to think about this. This happened eight year ago--EIGHT YEAR AGO! Not a word of this kind of tactic leaked to the press until now, probably because Buse and his bosses knew that the drug companies were capable of instituting a lawsuit like this which, win or lose, would cost them and their university many millions of dollars they couldn't afford, though it would be lunch money to Glaxo.

So the threat worked.

You have to ask yourself: How many
other researchers who have found other problems with high-profit drugs have been the victims of this kind of threat? What other problems have been hidden because drug companies threatened researchers or their institutions this way?

We may never know, because this kind of threat can be very effective. So can the threats to stop funding research at a researcher's university or medical school if he or she doesn't shut up.

It is starting to look like the morals and operating strategy of the big legal drug pushers isn't a whole lot different from that of their bush league compatriots selling the illegal stuff. When a drug earns you 3 billion bucks a year, who cares if some people are dying unnecessary deaths. If someone looks like they're going to mess up those juicy sales, well, you knock them off. Machine guns are unnecessary. Just threaten them in a way that shuts them up. In this case, it looks like the threat worked very well.

The article also points out that " Glaxo waited 11 months before telling federal regulators about clinical trial results linking Avandia to heart risks." That is 11 months during which someone's mom, grandma, dad, or husband developed heart failure that would kill them.

Final thought: With Buse in line to head the Drug Company and Junk Food Conglomerate-owned ADA, will he knuckle under to their threats to cut ADA funding if he suggests that, just maybe, carbs are NOT the other white meat?


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Lobo Civera said...

I started taking Avandamet - Contains Avandia combined with metformin. within a couple of hours my whole body went numb and tingling whenever I would try to go to sleep. Even lying down this would happen within several minutes. It scared the crap out of me and I stayed up the rest of the night walking around. The next night it occurred again. I went to an emergency room and explained to the staff that I was having some kind of reaction but they didn't understand. 2 years later I hear about these warnings and believe that I suffered from Pulmonary venous hypertension.I stopped taking this drug immediately.