This is hardly surprising, but worth noting, nonetheless. Now that a majority of FDA advisory panel members voted in favor of allowing GlaxoSmithKline's Avandia diabetes pill to remain on the market - but with restrictions - Takeda Pharmaceuticals is taking advantage by running a national media blitz over the next two weeks in newspapers and magazines.
The ads, which brag that "Actos has been shown to lower blood sugar without increasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke,” are appearing in 154 publications spanning 85 different markets. The national publications include The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, as well as such magazines as Parade, Newsweek, Time and BusinessWeek.
Of course, the Avandia story is not over - 12 FDA panelists voted to withdraw the drug, although the agency usually takes the advice of its panels when making such decisions. Avandia, however, is a much trickier issue, given the internal bickering at the FDA over the Glaxo pill and the need for agency officials to use this decision as a defining moment for their public health mission. "Our number one concern right now is making sure patients and physicians have the information they need about Actos and any concerns about their health," Takeda spokeswoman Elissa Johnsen tells us. She reminds us Takeda ran a similar ad campaign the last time Avandia was beaten up publicly - in 2007, when the FDA added warnings to both drugs and Takeda tried to differentiate Actos from Avandia. The latest ad campaign, by the way, was designed by AbelsonTaylor.