VA removes Avandia from its formulary

VA dealt a body blow to type 2 diabetes drug Avandia this week, deciding that while it would continue to make the drug available to existing users, officials would no longer allow it to be prescribed it to new patients. This decision is far more than a public relations problem, as the VA accounts for a whopping 8 percent of Avandia's sales. The VA issued more than 161,000 Avandia prescriptions between September 2006 and August 2007 alone.

The decision follows on a now-famous journal article published in May which suggested that using the drug could increase heart attack risks by more than 40 percent. The article triggered a dramatic drop in the use of Avandia, which at one point accounted for $2.2 billion a year in revenues for GlaxoSmithKline.

To find out more about the VA's decision:
- read this piece in The New York Times

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