Glaxo in diabetes drug feud

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has come under renewed pressure to take leading diabetes drug Avandia off the market after a report by the US Senate finance committee accused it of being unsafe.

The report, issued at the weekend, claimed the pharmaceutical giant was aware of the possible health risks associated with the medication before the information was made public. It said: “The totality of evidence suggests that GSK was aware of the possible cardiac risks associated with Avandia years before such evidence became public.”

It went on to claim GSK focused on strategies to minimise findings that connected the Avandia drug rosiglitazone maleate to increased cardiovascular risk. UK-based GSK rejected the report on the basis that conclusions drawn were not consistent with the “rigorous scientific evidence supporting the safety of the drug”.

A statement issued on GSK’s website said: “The report cherry-picks information from documents, which mischaracterizes [GSK’s] comprehensive efforts to research Avandia.” GSK’s London share price could today be adversely affected by the fresh pressure to remove Avandia from the market. The stock already dropped by 1.49 per cent in New York on Friday.

The US Food and Drug Administration will ask an advisory panel to consider the risks of the drug before questions about a possible link to heart attacks emerged in 2007.