As I was driving at 5:30 this morning, one story on KPR really woke me up – after a 20 hour deliberation over two days, the FDA has decided that drug Avandia will remain on the market.
Avandia is a medication for type 2 diabetes. This decision comes despite evidence that Avandia may cause increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and death — so much so that some FDA scientists have been calling for the drug’s review and removal for years. I wouldn’t take such a side effect for a DIABETES DRUG lightly, either.
One panelist who reluctantly voted to keep the drug on the market said he was disappointed Glaxo (the makers of Avandia) had not provided clear evidence that the drug was safe.
However, the drug was kept on the market because there was reportedly not enough substantial evidence to deem that the drug was really that dangerous.
Which should determine if the drug is available to Americans – evidence that it’s safe or evidence that it isn’t safe?
This is what happens when government agency is in the palm of the private sector’s hand. The FDA is partially (significantly) funded by drug companies; without them, they would not have the monetary resources to operate. So, guess which way the FDA will lean in the drug approval process?
Some might say that it should be up to individuals to decide whether they want to accept the risks involved in taking certain medications. I would argue that, at least from what I’ve observed, Americans can be very trusting of their doctors and the medical system, especially if their doctors are trustworthy and have good intentions. Some wouldn’t necessarily assess the risks of a prescribed drug if they believed their doctors thought it was safe; and, a lot of doctors probably trust the FDA to weed out unsafe medication.
To me, this just seems like another struggle between duty to the people and corporate power.