Who can tell me how to join up the dots between Avandia critic Dr Steven Nissen; FDA spokesman Douglas Arbesfeld; the public relations firm Manning Selvage & Lee; Dr Scott Gottlieb; Peter Pitts; Robert Goldberg and the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest?
Well, the answer is Evelyn Pringle and you can read her latest piece here – as ever it’s an in-depth article and it paints a shocking picture of the FDA and its links to the pharmaceutical industry. She writes:
The FDA’s latest campaign to protect the profits of a drug company over the safety of Americans is unprecedented, and the organizers include a gang of current and former FDA officials largely credited with turning the nation’s regulatory beagle into a lapdog for Big Pharma under the Bush Administration.
FDA spokesman Douglas Arbesfeld, apparently the industry’s new inside guy, kicked off the campaign by sending an e-mail to journalists which was intended to discredit Dr Steven Nissen and the Cleveland Clinic. Dr Nissen’s study appeared online on May 21, 2007, in the New England Journal of Medicine and warned that GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug Avandia increased the risk of heart attacks by 43% and death from cardiovascular events by possibly 64%.
The talking points for the media appear to have been formulated and agreed upon ahead of time between Arbesfeld and others because more than one story from ostensibly different sources later appeared in the media and on the internet referring to Dr Nissen with such names as “St Steven”, “Patron Saint of Drug Safety” and “Saint Steven the Pure.”
It’s a must-read piece – the entire article is here.