Aug 24, 2010
Back in February, I wrote an article about how a Senate Finance Committee report revealed that GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of the diabetes drug Avandia, knew that its drug was dangerous and caused heart attacks; yet GSK went out of its way to hide this important information from the public and kept on selling Avandia. Now, GSK has now decided to launch a global clinical trial of this dangerous drug that could potentially harm thousands of people.
Both FDA and GSK scientists have found that Avandia is dangerous and significantly increases the risk of heart attacks, but the drug remains on the market to this day. FDA officials have rejected sound scientific evidence demonstrating the dangers of the drug, including evidence from the FDA’s own scientists. (Read all about the Avandia scandal in my previous article on the subject.)
Meanwhile, GSK is moving forward with a global clinical trial that it says will compare the safety of Avandia with other diabetes drugs in its class. In other words, according to press reports, GSK knows Avandia is dangerous, but it’s choosing to go ahead with a trial anyway… a trial that could put the lives of thousands of people at risk.
Dr. David Juurlink, chief of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, and Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of health research for the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, have petitioned the FDA to stop the GSK drug trial. Citing concerns that the trial is “unethical” and “dangerous”, the two are doing what the FDA itself should be doing – assessing the evidence and coming to a rational conclusion about risk versus benefit.
After all, it was Dr. Juurlink’s 2009 study which already found that Avandia increases the risk of heart failure and death by 30 percent more than another diabetes drug in the same class. Not only has Avandia been proven to be dangerous, it’s been proven to be even more dangerous than the competition.
And numerous studies years before found that Avandia increases the risk of heart problems and death, prompting the FDA to issue two black-box warnings for the drug back in 2007.
But at this point, it doesn’t seem to matter how many people suffer and die from Avandia because the FDA somehow doesn’t believe there is “conclusive evidence” that Avandia is dangerous, so pharmacies everywhere continue to sell it. And even though GSK knows that Avandia is statistically responsible for an increase in deaths, it continues to push this drug on the masses.
If you really think about it, what GSK is doing amounts to negligent homicide. The company is knowingly and willfully selling a dangerous drug that’s killing people, and now it wants to subject even more people to unnecessary risk of death through a medically unnecessary clinical trial that’s global in scope.
I say “medically unnecessary” because there have already been a number of studies verifying that Avandia is dangerous. Why create another trial with 16,000 participants to reveal what we already know? How many more people need to suffer or die before the FDA pulls the drug from the market?
The sheer lunacy of what’s taking place here in the name of “medicine” and “science” is shocking — even to those of us who follow the crimes and corruption of Big Pharma on a regular basis. Real scientists and doctors know this behavior by GSK is appalling, and apparently so does much of the public who, according to new reports, are refusing to even participate in the trial.
Typically when drug companies conduct clinical trials, they pay people a sum of money to act as guinea pigs for a new drug. (Sadly, many people are willing to ingest experimental substances for a couple hundred bucks). However according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, GSK can’t even get Americans to sign up!
You see, the average joe has more common sense than the FDA, and a lot of people know that Avandia is dangerous. The Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, for example, which is one of GSK’s study sites, has “not succeed[ed] in recruiting anybody” in over a year. And this is during a time when a lot of Americans are out of jobs and desperately need the cash.
So what does GSK do in response? It opens dozens of new sites in third-world countries where it can prey on innocent poor people who are less informed about the dangers of Avandia.
In fact, this is part of the reason why Dr. Juurlink and Dr. Wolfe are urging the FDA to stop the trial. They recognize how evil it is for GSK to exploit ill-informed people from other countries when things aren’t going so well for Avandia back at home. In targeting low-income third-world study subjects, GSK is demonstrating itself to be a ruthless, money-hungry organization that has no qualms about exploiting human lives to achieve its profit goals.
The whole Avandia fiasco is truly indicative of the way the medical-industrial complex operates. You would think that after all the studies and trials proving its dangers, the countless lawsuits and the official government report, that GSK would at least back down from this drug. Not only has GSK continued to deny the obvious truth about Avandia’s risks, but now it is shamelessly pressing forward to expand the market for Avandia around the world. (Remind you of anything? How about Big Tobacco?)
It seems obvious that Avandia should be pulled from the market and GSK investigated for its role in pushing a knowingly harmful drug. At the very least, there should be a moratorium on the sale of the drug until GSK can prove the safety of Avandia. But in the real world, this dangerous drug is being treated as safe and its producer is allowed to continue using it on human guinea pigs around the world.
If GSK was a person, that person might be classified as a serial killer (and the FDA would be considered its accomplice). Both GSK and the FDA, if they were people, would be pursued for their crimes against society. But because they are two of the key organizational players in the global medical-industrial complex, they continue to perpetrate their crimes without consequence.
This may be changing, though, as people wake up to the truth. The fact that GSK can’t get U.S. participants to sign up for its Avandia clinical trials says to me that people are really starting to recognize “the emperor has no clothes.” Big Pharma’s lies can only continue for so long before the truth is exposed.
This article was posted: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 3:25 am