500 deaths in France linked to “Mediator” drug

The diabetes drug fiasco illustrates what happens when regulatory authorities allow the pharmaceutical industry to test drug safety by “cherry picking” animal species.

The diabetes drug “Mediator” is another unfortunate example of what happens when regulatory authorities allow the pharmaceutical industry to “cherry pick” the animal species of their choice to demonstrate drug safety. A similar example is the drug Vioxx, which was banned in 2004. Although Vioxx was found to be “cardioprotective” in mice it was nevertheless withdrawn from the market because of its link to 150,000 deaths worldwide as a result of heart attacks and stroke.

It is time for the regulatory authorities to reassess the need for animal testing. It is indeed bizarre that animal experiments remain a legal requirement for the safety testing of human drugs, while the submission of important human data (e.g. pharmacogenomics in conjunction with human cell studies) is still only a voluntary requirement.

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