GlaxoSmithKline hid risk of Avandia diabetes drug, says Senate panel

Avandia diabetes drug under congressional review
Avandia diabetes drug under congressional review

Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline intentionally hid the risks of its diabetes drug Avandia and promoted it despite its potential to increase incidents of heart attack, a U.S. Senate committee says in a report to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA is holding a special two-day meeting today and Wednesday with a panel of independent expert physicians to help decide what to do with the drug. The FDA isn't obligated to act on the panel's advice, although it often does.

Diabetes is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar level is too high and your body doesn't regulate its level with the chemical hormone insulin. If your body doesn't make enough insulin, or the insulin doesn't work the way it should, the blood sugar -- called glucose -- stays in your blood instead of providing fuel to your body's cells, says the U.S. National Institutes of Health. People with diabetes have an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, kidney and eye problems.