Debate continues over drug Avandia

February 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Avandia was once one of the biggest-selling drugs in the world, but two years ago, some researchers raised questions about whether it caused heart attacks.

At the time, the FDA determined Avandia was safe, but two new reports show that if doctors prescribed a similar drug called Actos instead, it would prevent 6,000 heart attacks every year in the US.

Still, doctors keep giving Avandia to hundreds of thousands of Americans while the FDA continues to debate whether it's harmful.

"What bothers me the most is that every month that goes by, more people are harmed by a drug that we simply don't need," said Dr. Steven Nissen, Yale University School of Medicine.

A bi-partisan senate report released today criticizes both the drug's maker, Glaxo Smith Kline, and the FDA.

It says both should have warned patients about the dangers of Avandia years earlier than they did.

The report says, Glaxo Smith Kline, has tried to intimidate doctors and minimize the scientific findings.

The company repeated its claims today that Avandia is safe.