The reports, obtained by The New York Times, say that if every diabetic now taking Avandia were instead given a similar pill named Actos, about 500 heart attacks and 300 cases of heart failure would be averted every month because Avandia can hurt the heart. Avandia, intended to treat Type 2 diabetes, is known as rosiglitazone and was linked to 304 deaths during the third quarter of 2009…Avandia was once one of the biggest-selling drugs in the world. Driven in part by a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, sales were $3.2 billion in 2006…hundreds of thousands still take the medicine, although some top endocrinologists say they have sworn off the drug.
I wonder when the American public is going to realize that Big Pharma is about snake oil and money, not about providing innovative new drugs that improve our health. Seventy percent of the 26 drugs approved by the FDA in 2009 were me-too drugs– when an old drug goes off patent, the pharmaceutical company changes the chemical compound ever so slightly so they can call it a new drug and market it again for another decade and charge exorbitant prices. The FDA approves new drugs if they’re shown to be better than placebo. It can be 5% better than placebo and it becomes a marketing race to garner a $3.2 billion market. If the FDA wanted to side with consumers, rather than Big Pharma, they would mandate that:
- New medications be tested against not placebos, but the best drugs currently on the market. If the new drug can’t beat what’s currently the best, it shouldn’t be allowed to poison the population.
- They should be tested against generic medications to answer the question, “Is this drug cost effective for the population?” If a generic medication can be had for $4 a month, and the new medication costs $400 a month, then the new drug should be 100 times more effective than the $4 a month medication.
And if you haven’t yet read, The Truth About Drug Companies, please do so.