A report published in the March/April 2011 edition of the American “General Dentistry” journal advises dentists against exposing patients to too excessive amounts of zinc by ensuring that their dentures fit correctly.
Zinc is a common metal used in dental products, and administered in the recommended quantities should not present a problem. However, too much zinc can result in a copper deficiency, neurological problems and anaemia.
The report gives as an example a tube of denture adhesive – such as Flexigrip – which should last denture wearers up to twelve weeks. Some patients, who have ill-fitting dentures, will use much more than is recommended to keep their dentures in place.
Lawsuits have been filed in America against the manufacturers of denture creams which contain zinc for not adequately warning about the risks associated with the product. GlaxoSmithKline has reportedly settled some lawsuits regarding the zinc toxicity of their denture adhesive, Poligrip.
The Financial Times has published an article today that estimates that GlaxoSmithKline may have to pay up to US$1 billion to settle the claims from victims of the side effects of the diabetes drug Avandia.
The compensation estimates are based on an early settlement of $60 million with a group of 700 plaintiffs who had claimed that the side effects included strokes and heart attacks. The primary side effects of the drug are believed to be increased heart disease rates; greater incidence of fractures of the upper arms, hands, and feet of female diabetics; eye damage – macular edema; and hepatotoxicity.
The Financial Times states that it has been estimated that there are about 13,000 people claiming compensation for the side effects of Avandia.
The case for damages and compensation is compounded compounded by the actions of GlaxoSmithKline, which a November 2007 US Senate Finance Committee report entitled “The Intimidation of Dr. John Buse and the Diabetes Drug Avandia” accuses the drug firm of intimidation of Dr. Buse, an independent expert with extensive research experience in the thiazolidinedione class of drugs that includes Avandia. Dr. Buse had expressed concern about Avandia in 1999.
GlaxoSmithKline has defended its development and use of Avandia.