In 2011, Robert Elford Ryder published a report in the medical journal The Lancet titled “Pioglitazone and bladder cancer” which discusses the link between diabetes drug Actos (Tadeka Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) and bladder cancer.

At the outset of his piece, Ryder states “In June, 2011, the French and German regulatory bodies suspended pioglitazone over the risk of bladder cancer.”  However, because he states diabetes is a disease characterized by premature death due to diminished cardiovascular capacity, and that there is evidence to believe Actos staves off diminishing cardiovascular capacity, people should continue using Actos despite the risk for bladder cancer.

I thought this logic was a little fishy, since if patients use Actos and it does indeed indirectly protect from heart attack or stroke, then patients would live long enough to get bladder cancer.  Of course, it seems like without Actos patients face increased risk for heart attack and stroke, making this appear as a catch-22.  Thankfully, it isn’t: there are number of other effective diabetes drugs that do not carry the risk for bladder cancer as Actos does.

Why there isn’t mention of other effective diabetes drugs in his piece, and why Ryder advocates the use of Actos in the face of increased risk for cancer became obvious upon reading the final line: “I have previously received educational sponsorship, speaker fees, and consultancy fees from several pharmaceutical companies including Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi-Aventis, and Takeda.”

No wonder Ryder advocates for the use of Actos: he works for the manufacturer.