Avandia Saved by FDA

FDA votes to keep Avandia on the marketTwenty members of a 33-member panel voted to keep diabetes drug Avandia on the market in some form, announced MSNBC. Only 12 members voted to pull the drug from the market, and one panel member abstained from voting. The Food and Drug Administration’s move should hold back litigation against GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Avandia’s maker.

The drug may be associated with increased heart risks, particularly in comparison with Actos, a type two diabetes drug. Research questioning the drug’s safety surfaced in 2007, but much of the data has been deemed inconclusive.

Avandia’s U.S. sales account for only 1.5 percent of Glaxo’s 2009 revenues, but investors feared the company could face major lawsuits if the FDA chose to ban Avandia. Shares of Glaxo were trading up two percent on the New York Stock Exchange, having closed up 0.4 percent in London ahead of the vote.

The panel heard conflicting opinions over a two day period. The administration will make a final decision in the coming months, but they usually follow the recommendation of the advisory panel.

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