It's finally come to everyone's notice that the drug can trigger fatal asthma attacks, a detail that's been frequently raised over the years. As a result, the FDA now recommends that doctors prescribe the drug only if there is nothing better and safer to offer.
Some City analysts fear that this could reduce the drug's revenues by as much as a quarter over the next five years. Worldwide sales of Advair reached lb3.4bn last year, making it GSK's top-selling drug.
But other analysts aren't quite so gloomy. Despite the deaths and warnings, they reckon that doctors will carry on prescribing Advair as usual.
As we were saying, clever people, those City folk (FDA website; The Independent, 22 November 2005).