The news of Avandia panelist Dr. Abraham Thomas confessing a potential conflict comes after another panelist Dr. David Capuzzi was discovered to be a paid speaker for GSK, the drug company which makes Avandia.
Dr.Thomas says he was a paid speaker for Takeda Pharmaceutical which produces Avanti’s direct rival Actos. While Dr. Thomas was a speaker for Takeda in 2007 and 2008 he was one of the 12 panelists who voted to withdraw the drug.
During the meeting last week the FDA’s expert advisors heard evidence and presentations from all sides concerning the Avandia. The goal was to determine whether the popular diabetes drug is safe enough to stay on the market at all, or whether it needs stronger warnings or restrictions. After 2 days the panel placed their votes and elected to keep Avandia 20-12, the 20 that voted to keep it advised additional warnings and restrictions.
Now the FDA is investigating the Capuzzi situation, and trying to see why the financial ties to GSK didn’t come up during the vetting process before the meeting. One can assume that the same will happen concerning Dr. Thomas, although there has been no official comment.
The FDA has issues a statement that it will weigh the evidence as it considers what to do about Avandia. The agency tells the Wall Street Journal “If any member of the advisory committee is found to have a conflict of interest (the) FDA can consider that information as we make our final decision on the status of the drug.”