Wed, Mar 14, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Lawmaker slams DOH over drugs

HEALTH RISKS Huang Sue-ying said FDA studies show that new diabetes medication and some contraceptives could lead to more incidences of fractures and blood clots

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) yesterday urged the Department of Health (DOH) to play a more active role in informing women about the possible side effects of new diabetes and contraceptive medication.

Research results released last month by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed that women taking new diabetes medicine containing rosiglitazone and pioglitazone were more likely to suffer from fractures than men taking the same drugs, Huang told a press conference.

As for women who take new contraceptive drugs containing desogestrel are twice as likely to suffer from blood clots than women who take other types of contraceptives, she said.

Drugs containing rosiglitazone and pioglitazone used to treat diabetes in the country include Avandia and Actos, while contraceptive drugs containing desogestrel include Ethistrel Tablet, Marvelon Tablet and Mercilon Tablet, Huang said.

no action taken

"These research results have been publicized on the FDA's Web site since February, but the DOH failed to take any action all this time," Huang said.

"It only issued an alert on Monday after we informed the Bureau of Pharmaceutical Affairs that we were going to hold a press conference about this," she said.

"DOH, as the government agency in charge [of pharmaceutical affairs], does not have enough awareness," she said, accusing the health department of failing to follow the effects of new drugs after they enter the market.

responsibilities

She demanded that the department carry out its responsibility of supervising the safety of medication and informing all doctors, pharmacists and patients of potential health risks from new medication as soon as studies or results come out.

Bureau director Liao Chi-chou (廖繼洲), who was also present at the conference, said that the health department has initiated projects to monitor the side effects of the new drugs, but has not received reports of fractures among women taking the new medicine to treat diabetes.

Liao said that the bureau would continue to keep a close eye on any new information about the side effects of new medicines on the FDA's Web site.

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