Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More on the controversy over Avandia: what did the company know, and when?

I have been posting updated links related to the controversy over the diabetes drug Avandia here, but this story, published in the New York Times a few days ago is so interesting it deserves its own post. Here are the leading paragraphs... Three years ago, Dr. Steven E. Nissen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, conducted a landmark study that suggested that the best-selling diabetes drug Avandia raised the risk of heart attacks. The study led to a Congressional inquiry, stringent safety warnings, a sharp drop in the drug’s sales and a plunge in the share price of GlaxoSmithKline, Avandia’s maker. The battle between Dr. Nissen and GlaxoSmithKline was waged from afar in news releases and published papers. But on May 10, 2007, 11 days before Dr. Nissen’s study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, he and four company executives met face to face in a private meeting whose details have not been disclosed until now. Fearing he would face pressure and criticism from executives, Dr. Nissen secretly recorded the meeting — which is legal in Ohio as long as one party to the conversation is aware of the taping. On a recent day in his sunny office at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Nissen shared the contents of the recording with The Times. What was said at the 2007 meeting raises questions about science and ethics that have suddenly become keenly relevant. Continue reading the full story here. Thanks to Pharmalot for the link to the NYT Story.

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