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Avandia Linked to Heart Failure

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  U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials are recommending the diabetes medication Avandia (rosiglitazone), manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, be taken off the market because of studies that link it to heart failure.

  FDA studies recommending the ban were released last week as part of a report on the drug by Senate Finance Committee members Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.). The senate report also indicates GlaxoSmithKline has known about the link between its drug and heart attacks for some time. In 2007, Dr. Steven Missen, a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic, published a study in The New England Journal of Medicine that found patients taking Avandia were at a 43 percent higher risk for heart attack. Avandia sales in 2006 reportedly were about $3.2 billion.

  The 334-page Senate committee report was made public only recently, but portions of its review were reported last year in The Wall Street Journal.

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