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Diabetes drug linked to heart attacks

  |   Feb. 20, 2010 at 4:07 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate Finance Committee released a 334-page report Saturday showing a link between the Type 2 diabetes drug Avandia and thousands of heart attacks.

The committee's report, which reviewed more than 250,000 pages of documents provided by drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and research institutes, also criticized the FDA for ignoring safety concerns about Avandia (rosiglitazone) brought up by its staff, CNN reported.

The Wall Street Journal said confidential studies showed FDA officials recommended Avandia be removed from the market because of a risk of heart attacks and heart failure.

The FDA is the federal agency charged with regulating food, tobacco and medications.

"Americans have a right to know there are serious health risks associated with Avandia, and GlaxoSmithKline had a responsibility to tell them," committee chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said. "Patients trust drug companies with their health and their lives, and GlaxoSmithKline abused that trust."

GlaxoSmithKline Saturday said in a statement the company "rejects the conclusions about the safety of Avandia."

"Contrary to the assertions in the (New York Times), and consistent with the FDA-approved labeling, the scientific evidence simply does not establish that Avandia increases ischemic cardiovascular risk or causes myocardical ischemic events."

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