A year after drug regulators including Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that the type 2 diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone) increased the risk of bladder cancer, health officials in China are now following suit.
China’s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) on Tuesday warned doctors and patients that studies showed Actos put users at greater risk for bladder cancer, especially if they used the drug long term. The SFDA advised patients with bladder cancer to avoid the drug if at all possible, or use it in the smallest dose possible. The agency also asked medical experts to weigh the risks and benefits of the drug before prescribing it to patients and to work out rational, safe treatment plans for those who are prescribed the drug.
Actos was first approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in the United States and Japan in 1999. China approved the drug in 2004. The drug is made by Japanese drug maker Takeda. Since its initial approval, Actos has been sold in more than 100 countries around the world, and has achieved blockbuster status. Blockbuster drugs are those that generate revenues of more than $1 billion annually.
Type 2 diabetes is one of the world’s biggest health concerns. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2030, more than 366 million people around the world will be suffering from diabetes – 10 times the number affected by HIV/AIDS.
Source: NZ Week