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Public Citizen Urges FDA to Pull Byetta from Market Due to Cancer Risk

The Director of Public Citizen issued a statement on March 22, 2013, urging the FDA to remove Type 2 diabetes medications Byetta, Januvia and Victoza from the market. According to the statement issued by Dr. Sidney Wolfe, there is clear evidence linking these medications to an increase in precancerous changes in the pancreases of individuals who take the drugs.

Wolfe discusses a study¬† conducted by Drs. Alexandra Butler and Peter Butler of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and colleagues at UCLA and the University of Florida, which was published in the online journal “Diabetes.”

According to the study, patients who took Byetta, Januvia or Victoza had a higher rate of pancreatic cancer than diabetics who were taking other medications as well as non-diabetic patients. 

Wolfe also noted that between Jan. 1, 2010 and June 30, 2012, the FDA had received 292 reports of pancreatic tumors in patients who listed Byetta, Januvia or Victoza as the primary suspect for the tumors.

Public Citizen has petitioned the FDA to remove Victoza from the market due to concerns about an increased risk of pancreatic and thyroid cancers. Now that there is clear evidence linking all three of the drugs to pancreatic cancer, the group is urging the FDA to remove them all from the market.

“The idea of putting a warning label about pancreatic cancer on drugs that have no unique benefit for diabetics but which have increasing evidence of the risk for pancreatic cancer — instead of banning the drugs altogether — would be an extraordinarily reckless approach for the FDA to initiate,” Wolfe said in the statement.

To view the complete statement, click here.

Public Citizen is a group that challenges the abusive practices of pharmaceutical, nuclear and automobile industries, among others, and serves as the publics’ voice in the nation’s capital.