The issue of harm versus drug benefit is clearly the priority when prescribing any medication. This is why drug regulators examine all the data in drug development during a long, expensive and protracted pathway. With respect to the Incretin based drugs we are now being confronted with controversies. This is not only with regards to the drug side effects but also with the procedures designed to regulate their development, marketing and sales.

Scientific research publications and subsequent news stories have raised concerns regarding the safety of this class of medication. The most significant concern is whether these drugs have the potential to cause pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer in users.

The debate also includes a review of drug company transparency, drug regulator impartiality and the bias of news reporting. The resulting controversy often leaves patients feeling rather bemused and bewildered.

I believe the best approach to understanding and advising on this problem is to examine all the scientific evidence, not just one research paper or one news story. It is necessary to establish a balanced well thought out opinion based upon a whole variety of clinical information, not least being the overall care and wishes of each individual patient.

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