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Scientist says FDA called journal to block Vioxx article

What the heck is going on here? It’s been discovered that the FDA strongarmed a journal to stop important safety information about Merck’s Vioxx from being published. Read the whole USA Today article. It is a disturbing chronology of events that shows a system spinning out of control — the patients are the last thing on Big Pharma’s mind, and the government is on their side.

Just days before a medical journal was to publish a Food and Drug Administration-sponsored study that raised concerns about the safety of the arthritis drug Vioxx, an FDA official took the unusual step of calling the editor to raise questions about the findings’ scientific integrity, suggests e-mail obtained by USA TODAY.

Lead author David Graham says the call was part of an effort to block publication of his research, an analysis of a database of 1.4 million Kaiser Permanente members showing that those who took Vioxx were more likely to suffer a heart attack or sudden cardiac death than those who took Celebrex, Vioxx’s rival. Graham had reported his study in August at an epidemiology meeting in France, but publication in a medical journal would have exposed it to a wider audience.

…Graham says he pulled his paper at the last minute because he feared for his job.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding