It didn't take long for Japan's Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which trades on the Tokyo exchange, to try to capitalize on the new safety warning for GlaxoSmithKline's diabetes drug Avandia. Last week the FDA slapped a so-called "Black Box"--the agency's most severe warning--on the Avandia label advising patients and doctors about the potential heart attack and stroke risk that's been the subject of so much controversy over the past several months.
When we went to the American Diabetes Association annual meeting a few months ago and did a random survey of endocrinologists (specialists who treat diabetes patients) nearly every single one of them said they were putting new patients on Takeda's Actos instead of Avandia and/or switching current, insistent Avandia patients onto Actos.
In her weekly prescription trend report, Deutsche Bank analyst Barbara Ryan calculates that for the week of November 9th new prescriptions for Actos dropped one-tenth of a percent from the week before and new Avandia prescriptions actually went up 1.2%. But comparing the most recent three-week period to the three-week period before the safety controversy erupted last May Ryan says total Avandia scripts have plummeted 59% and Actos scripts are up 8%.
So, with all that in mind, take a look at the "na-na-na-na-na-nah" full-page ad that appeared in the Sunday "Newark Star-Ledger" with the large-type headline, "ACTOS Has Been Shown To Lower Blood Sugar Without Increasing Your Risk Of Having A Heart Attack Or Stroke." According to "The Wall Street Journal", the ad is appearing in about 60 major papers.