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The watchdog group Public Citizen petitioned the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today to ban Bristol-Myers Squibb’s drug Tequin (gatifloxacin) because it is believed to be linked to 400 blood sugar abnormalities resulting in over 150 hospitalizations and 20 deaths.

According to Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group:

More than half a dozen other antibiotics exist to treat these conditions and all are safer than Tequin. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s quiet announcement last Friday that it would no longer manufacture Tequin for economic reasons is similarly inadequate to protect the public’s health since the company apparently has no intention, absent FDA action to ban the drug, to stop selling the large amount of Tequin already in the channels of commerce. Thus, without an FDA ban, thousands of additional patients will be prescribed this unacceptably dangerous drug.

ABC News reported in March about a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that provided evidence that the drug may pose special risks for diabetics. An editorial accompanying the study said that “Tequin should carry the most serious type of label a black-box warning in light of the study,” noting that there are “safer, equally effective and less costly alternatives” to Tequin.

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