A disturbing report by the Mayo Clinic alleges that about 90% of the scientists who published articles supporting GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug Avandia had financial ties to the company, as reported by Bloomberg News. Here are excerpts from the article:
The Mayo researchers examined more than 200 articles that appeared after an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine linked Avandia to a 43 percent increased risk of heart attacks, and a subsequent clinical trial found no greater danger of heart disease. Almost 90 percent of scientists who wrote positive articles, reviews or commentaries about Avandia had financial ties to London-based Glaxo, the study published in the British Medical Journal found.
Almost three of every four authors who expressed negative views of the drug had no financial ties to manufacturers of diabetes medicines, while just 6 percent of those with positive opinions of the drug received no funding or fees from industry. The relationships between scientists and pharmaceutical companies may help explain why the interpretations of the published articles varied so widely, the researchers said.
“We aimed to determine whether financial conflicts of interest with pharmaceutical manufacturers could be fuelling this fire,” wrote the researchers, led by Amy Wang, a resident in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “From our findings, it appears that the answer is yes.”
“It’s vital that people have trust in the way we do research and the way it’s made public,” said Jo Revill, Glaxo spokeswoman, in a telephone interview today. “Part of that is sharing data. What we have done is develop policies that will have disclosure and encourage disclosure.”
Glaxo will disclose all the research payments it makes to investigators and their institutions in the U.S. starting this year, Revill said.