Diabetes Drug Scare

A local pharmacist gives his opinion on a recent medical report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Steve Sheldon has been practicing pharmacy for 25 years, and over the course of that time, he's seen his share of drug warnings and alerts. In fact, he said we have more drug recalls in our country than probably anywhere else in the world.

"I think the FDA does a really good job of that. I think if anything, the FDA probably takes criticism for being too regulated," Sheldon said.

The FDA looked at the diabetes drug Avandia last August, which came after reports from the drug's maker, GlaxoSmithKline that the drug could have serious side effects.

The FDA decided not to issue any warnings at that time.

"We want to be proactive about safety, but we also don't want to needlessly disrupt the diabetic care of hundreds of thousands or millions of diabetic patients," said Dr. Robert Meyer, with the FDA.

The New England Journal of Medicine criticizes the FDA heavily for that decision, but Sheldon disagrees.

"I think the New England Journal of Medicine probably picked up on the negative clinical studies and maybe didn't look at the whole picture," Sheldon said.

Meanwhile, Sheldon said everyone who takes Avandia should not necessarily stop taking it.

"No, I don't think everyone should stop taking Avandia. If that were the case the FDA would rule it. They may rule it tomorrow, they may never rule it," Sheldon said.

He added, if Avandia is pulled from the shelves, there will be several other drugs like it that may need to be pulled as well.

For more information on Avandia, click here and to learn more about possible heart risks with Avandia, click here.


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