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Diabetes drug and conflicts of interest

11:48am, February 5, 2008

So much for confidential peer review.

Last May, a controversial paper in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) reported that a popular diabetes drug—rosiglitazone, sold as Avandia—substantially hikes a user's risk of heart attack (SN: 6/23/07, p. 397). But according to an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, Avandia's maker knew about the study before it was published. The company—Philadelphia-based GlaxoSmithKline—had a leaked copy, courtesy of a scientist that NEJM had recruited for a peer review of the paper.

"The man who did this is Dr. Steven Haffner," ranking Finance committee member Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) reported last week, referring to the investigation. Grassley added that Haffner, a physician with the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) in San Antonio, "confirmed to my investigators that he faxed a draft of the study to G

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