A supervisor in the drug safety office at the FDA said in an interview yesterday that she was rebuked last year after calling for a stronger warning label on Avandia and a competing drug, Actos.
The supervisor, Dr. Rosemary Johann-Liang, said that in March 2006 she approved a recommendation from a safety reviewer at the agency that the drugs be required to carry the strongest warning, a so-called black box warning, because they posed a risk of unusual swelling that could lead to heart failure.
But after officials at the agency who dealt more closely with Glaxo complained, Dr. Johann-Liang said she was ordered to retract her approval of the warning, lost her power to approve such assessments and no longer supervised reviews of the safety of Avandia and Actos.
“This was a very careful review that came to an inescapable conclusion,” Dr. Johann-Liang said in the interview. “They decided to act like the review never happened and punish me for approving it.”