Thursday, February 25, 2010

If Drugs Were Like Automobiles

According to an Institute for Safe Medication Practices report (see here) more than 1000 reports of patient deaths were received by FDA for rosiglitazone (AVANDIA) in the first three quarters of 2009, "more than any other drug we monitor."

In contrast, at least 34 deaths have been linked to Toyota vehicle problems going back as far as 2004, forcing Toyota to recall more than 8 million vehicles worldwide.

The top executives of Toyota had to appear before Congress and apologize profusely.

GSK (the maker of AVANDIA), on the other hand, is on an all out campaign to discredit the Senate investigation of AVANDIA.

If people are afraid to buy Toyotas, they should be about 400 times more afraid to take AVANDIA! I base this on an estimate of yearly death rates for AVANDIA (1333) vs Toyota (3.4).

Just as you can go out and buy a Honda instead of a Toyota, diabetes patients can go out and buy ACTOS instead of AVANDIA, according to Stephen Nissen, Chief Cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. If, that is, consumers evaluated drugs like they do automobiles.


  1. Great comparison. Wonder how to compare Avandia to the safety record of dietary supplements -- but lets not kid ourselves.. this is (like Toyota) another red herring dangled in front of the masses to serve as a convenient distraction from the real issue(s).

  2. What exactly were the vehicle problems?

  3. Holy cow! That's a huge number! Stay away from AVANDIA!

  4. Unintended acceleration either due to (1) floor mat interference with gas pedal, (2) sticky gas pedal, (3) faulty software (my vote), or (4) the nut behind the wheel.

    CF to reasons drugs cause death: (1) incorrect prescribing (right drug to wrong patients or just wrong drug), (2) faulty effectiveness vs. risk data (my choice for Avandia), (3) the nuts behind the wheel at pharmaceutical companies.

  5. Type II diabetes is preventable. The risk for most adults is simply atrophy of the insulin mechanism. A proper exercise prescription is a cost-effective solution. Sadly, news of this is simply an inconvenient truth for most. They'd rather sit back and passively take drugs. Too bad.


  7. Anonymous12:38 PM

    To be fair, you need to divide the number of deaths from each product by the number of consumers of each before you can make a true comparison of risk.
    Even so, I'm sure Avandia will have a higher incidence of death.

  8. There are obviously a lot more Toyotas on the road than people who have been prescribed AVANDIA. So, I'm thinking that makes the argument even stronger.

  9. It is indeed a huge number, now in order to buy a car we need to do a search on pros and cons.


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