Two pharmacy benefit programs dropped Avandia from their formularies. The controversial move comes in response to safety concerns stemming from a May report linking the drug to a 43 percent increased risk of heart attack. Prime Therapeutics and HealthTrans announced they will no longer allow their customers to purchase Avandia through their programs.
The decision is based on careful analysis of risk and efficacy studies. The FDA has not confirmed an increased risk of heart attack but has issued a warning of potential danger.
The onetime blockbuster medication is responsible for over $3 billion in sales in 2006 alone. Sine the May publication condemning the drug sales have fallen by almost 50 percent from last year’s totals. In October the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced plans to restrict use of Avandia to its members.
Pharmaceutical giant and Avandia maker, GlaxoSmithKline, was surprised by the recent action and has expressed their disappointment.
“It limits options for treatment and could be detrimental for patients. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has said the data remains inconclusive and therefore to limit patients’ options in this is disappointing,” a spokeswoman said.
Things have been going downhill in a hurry for Avandia and if the trend continues as it has over the past few months Glaxo and Avandia could be receiving even more damaging news in the near future.