Schools Training

Does Reward Outweigh Risk? New Pills for Type 2 Diabetes

9 JAN 2014
Career Path : Healthcare

According to this week’s AAPS  blog, Big Pharma companies are racing to release brand new Type 2 diabetes drugs, competing to corner a market that is growing at a staggering rate. The World Health Organization estimates that there are over 347 million people in the world with diabetes – and this number is expected to swell considerably over the next two decades.  Bristol/AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have both developed oral therapies for Type 2 sufferers, launching what is known as a new class of diabetes drugs.  However, trials and FDA approval processes have been fraught with criticism about potentially deadly side effects, such as heart attack and cancer. According to the blog post, Does Reward Outweigh Risk? New Pills for Type 2 Diabetes,  

Worries over new diabetes drugs and risky side effects are nothing new. GlaxoSmithKline continues to contend with numerous class action lawsuits over its Type 2 diabetes drug Avandia. In an alleged breach of pharmaceutical quality assurance, the industry giant stands accused of failing to fully disclose the medicine’s association with stroke, heart failure and heart attack. Subsequent studies reveal that patients who took Avandia, as compared to other drugs, increased their risk of heart attack by 43%.

The Avandia controversy has raised concerns about the new class of diabetes drugs and their associated health impacts.  As a result, the FDA has slowed the approval process for Bristol/AstraZeneca, and asked a special advisory panel to review the drug’s benefits and risks.  The agency has granted approval to J&J, but will require the company to continue several long term studies of how their pill impacts the health of diabetes patients.