When Actos, a type-2 diabetes medication, first hit the market in the late 1990s it was ranted and raved as the next best thing to peanut butter. Okay, well, not quite that good, but it was thought to be nearly a godsend to many diabetics. But…at what cost?
As with any medication there are always potential side effects. Common side effects include shortness of breath, weight gain, swelling, and hypoglycemia (too much decrease in blood sugar). Other more serious side effects could include such things as eye or bone problems, bladder cancer, or cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart problems, or a heart attack. Yep, those are pretty serious!
The exponential growth of the Actos medication timeline is no less than astronomical. Within just a few short weeks of its 1999 release to the wondrous medical marketplace this drug had grossed over $48 million. Just nine short years later, Actos had exceeded $4.6 billion.
Actos might be good at helping control blood sugar, but is it really that good? Or was it sly marketing, physician purchasing, and the host of other tactics used by pharmaceutical companies that pushed the product and forgot the patient once again?
The Actos timeline from 2008 forward presents an interesting picture beyond the unprecedented dollars in growth across proportionate years. Watch as the good and the bad unfold. Good for the profits, bad for the patient.
• 2008 – becomes 10th most prescribed drug
• 2008 – A Swiss medical study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine found glitazone diabetes drugs (Actos and Avandia) could cause a double or even tripled risk for fractured or broken bones
• 2010 – FDA reports 2.3 million patients filled a prescription for either Actos or similar drugs in one year
• 2010 – A Whistleblower Lawsuit with Helen Ge accused Takeda, a Japanese pharmaceutical company and manufacturer of Actos, failed to report all of the Actos adverse events and falsely led the FDA and the public into believing Actos was safer than it was
• 2010 – Actos linked to 243 cases of heart failure and 121 heart attacks by Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 217 of these case ended in death.
• 2011 – Takeda embroiled in more than 10,000 lawsuits
In a 10 year investigation on Actos performed by Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Actos was further found to increase patients’ risk of bladder cancer by 40%; patients on Actos more than 1 year.
Again mega money, mega profit result in mega remorse for the innocent.