In 1999, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug – Actos – for the treatment of diabetes in the United States. It did not take long before the drug became the best-selling diabetes treatment in the world, primarily due to its effect of reducing glucose production in the liver. For those taking and prescribing it, Actos seemed like a godsend. However, its manufacturers were hiding a dirty little secret.
Within just a few years, U.S. patients taking Actos began to develop serious conditions in connection with this drug. Some experienced heart problems, whereas others were developing bladder cancer at faster rates than individuals who did not take Actos. However, sales of Actos continued, eventually peaking in 2011.
Exposing the negative side effects of Actos
Several researchers have studied the side effects of Actos, including epidemiologists at Lady Davis Institute of Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. After reviewing the medical records of more than 115,000 people who took drugs for diabetes between 1988 and 2009, they discovered that people who took Actos were 83 percent more likely to develop bladder cancer than those who did not.
Between 2011 and 2013, several countries banned or heavily restricted the use of Actos, including France, Germany and India. The FDA was forced to acknowledge Actos side effects in 2011, when it released a statement and warning about increased risks of bladder cancer among people taking Actos for more than a year. Yet they merely slapped a warning label on the drug and allowed sales to continue despite known Actos side effects, multiple lawsuits and a giant big pharma cover-up that could have cost the lives of many.