FDA Panel Votes To Keep Avandia On Market With More Restrictions

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner     

The FDA has not yet removed Avandia from the market, although it is still considering its options.
The New York Times (7/15, A1, Harris) reports on its front page that the 33 panelists "took six votes on a variety of issues" and when asked what the FDA should do, "12 voted that Avandia should be withdrawn; 10 voted that its sales should be restricted and the warnings on its label enhanced; 7 voted only to support enhanced warnings on the drug's label; and 3 voted that the drug should continue to be sold with its present warnings unchanged. One member abstained, and no one voted for a final option, to weaken the label's present heart warnings." Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's drug center, "said that the agency took the panel's advice seriously and that it would consider its regulatory options."

The Washington Post (7/15, Stein) reports that a "majority" of the panel urged to keep the drug "available, perhaps with tough new restrictions and warnings." The votes "came after the panel concluded that there was sufficient evidence to be concerned that Avandia increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes but insufficient evidence that the drug increases the risk of death." The panel "also voted to recommend that the FDA allow a large new international study by GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Avandia, to proceed." Still, the final, "mixed vote illustrated the intensity of the debate over the drug. Critics...argued that the drug was clearly dangerous and unnecessary. Others expressed concern about pulling a drug that might be useful to some diabetics, who frequently need to try more than one medication."

USA Today (7/15, Rubin) also reports that the panel "voted 18-6 that the data raise significant concerns that Avandia carries a higher risk of those heart problems than does Actos [pioglitazone], the only other drug in its class. Nine were undecided."

The Hill 's (7/15, Lillis) Healthwatch blog reports, "Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health Committee, is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reach a quick verdict on the fate of Avandia." The Hill also notes that the panel's "mixed verdict puts the ultimate decision in the hands of Margaret Hamburg, who heads the FDA."

Given the serious risks of dangerous drugs, we urge you to speak with your doctor before ingesting any drug.  Be safe.

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About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri has also been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Law and Politics magazine (2010)--a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.

Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.