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Avandia Panel Member is a Paid Speaker for Glaxo

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A member of a Food & Drug Advisory (FDA) panel that voted last week to keep Avandia on the market has been a paid speaker for GlaxoSmithKline, maker of the controversial diabetes drug. Apparently this wasn’t disclosed to other members of the panel prior to the vote being taken.

According to the Journal, the FDA is looking into whether there was disclosure to the agency and, if so, why it wasn’t conveyed to the committee.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Endocrinologist David Capuzzi of Philadelphia defended Avandia during the two-day meeting, and was among the three members who voted to allow the drug to stay on the market with no additional warnings or restrictions.

Glaxo’s website shows that he received $3,750 from the company as a speaker between April 2009 and March 2010. A spokesperson for the company also told the Journal that he was paid $8,000 in speaking fees from the company before that period and an additional $3,000 in the second quarter of this year. No one else on the panel received any money from Glaxo during that same time frame.

According to the Journal, Dr. Capuzzi has confirmed his relationship with Avandia’s maker. While he said he has given talks on another Glaxo drug called Lovaza, Dr. Capuzzi said he has never spoken on Avandia.

Dr. Capuzzi also said he told the FDA about his payments from Glaxo. One panel member, Cardiologist Arthur Moss of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, told the Journal he would have liked to have known about it, and was “surprised” the panel wasn’t told. Dr. Moss also voted with Dr. Capuzzi to allow Avandia to stay on the market without further warnings or restrictions.

Since 2007, Avandia has borne a black box label – the FDA’s most urgent safety warning – regarding its heart attack risks. The FDA advisory panel voted 20-12 last week to allow Avandia on the market. Most of the panel members wanted greater restrictions and warnings for the drug.

The FDA is not required to follow the recommendations of such panels, but does so in most cases.

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