Diabetes Drugs Linked to Thousands of Deaths, No Clinical Improvements

An investigation by a medical group and news journal recently found that none of the 30 most popular type 2 diabetes drugs reduced the number of heart attack, stroke, blindness or amputation; instead, these drugs were linked to thousands of deaths and hospitalizations. Diabetes drug lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm detail this important report.

The Slippery Slope is a joint investigation by MedPage Today and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, examining 30 diabetes drugs approved by the FDA between 2004 and 2013. The team combed through thousands of pages of FDA medical and data reviews, label histories, and pharmaceutical company records to reveal the truth about these drugs.

Millions of Americans – more than 9% of the population – have type 2 diabetes. It is reaching epidemic proportions, causing limb amputations, deaths, kidney failures, and blindness throughout the country. It is also a cash hog for Big Pharma, which keeps turning out diabetes drugs like clockwork.

All 30 drugs examined in the report were approved based on their ability to lower elevated blood sugar, called HbA1c, in patients. This is only a partial view of the disease, however, as elevated blood sugar is merely a symptom of diabetes, not the cause. None of these drugs were ever proved to reduce the incidence of heart attack, blindness or amputation.

Rather than improving patient’s quality of life, these drugs are merely masking the real cause of the disease and patients are paying the price. Researchers found at least 3,300 deaths and 20,000 hospitalizations linked to diabetes drug side effects since 2004 – and these are just the incidents reported to the FDA. FDA data is infamously incomplete, so this number is likely significantly higher in reality.

For a full list of the drugs studied (including Victoza, Janumet, Januvia, Byetta, and Tradjenta) redirect to MedPage Today’s website, here.

Big Pharma Paying Doctors to Tout Diabetes Drugs

In addition to finding no clinical improvement and dangerous drug risks, investigators found that Big Pharma pays millions of dollars to doctors on panels that make decisions on diabetes treatments – specifically, the doctors in the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American Diabetes Association.

These panel members receive millions of dollars for “speaking and consulting” activities for Big Pharma. This is entirely legal, but the conflict of interest is obvious, and patients are almost completely unaware of this relationship. Patients wrongly assume that their doctors are prescribing them life-changing medicine that will control their diabetes, putting their lives on the line for bad science.

Not only are American diabetic experts in the pockets of Big Pharma, but these associations are constantly changing the definition of the disease. Before the changes, in the mid-1990s, more than 21 million Americans were considered diabetic or pre-diabetic; now, more than 77 million American qualify. Sales of diabetes drugs have skyrocketed at the same time, reaching $23 billion in 2013 – the same year these diabetes panels issued a statement telling doctors pre-diabetes can be treated with drugs.

This would be less disturbing if the side effects of these drugs were not so catastrophic. Drugs like Januvia, Byetta and Victoza are associated with pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is among the most deadly and aggressive forms of cancer. Actos is associated with bladder cancer, which has an extremely high recurrence rate. Avandia is linked to severe and fatal heart problems.

Most patients taking these drugs have no idea they can cause cancer, heart failure, and other devastating side effects. And the diabetic drug industry keeps booming, making more than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined.

The truth is, doctors do not know how to control or cure diabetes. These drugs are designed to treat the symptoms of the disease rather than the disease itself. We do know it is caused in part by sedentary lifestyles and obesity, and that thousands of people are dying needlessly from drug side effects. It’s time patients take their health into their own hands, not to their pharmacists.

Our team of diabetes drug lawyers is currently accepting cases of serious injury from diabetes drugs, including Januvia, Janumet, Byetta, Victoza, Avandia and Actos. If you or someone you love suffered an illness or death from one of these medications contact our firm immediately. We offer free legal consultations to concerned patients and families nationwide.

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