NEJM reviewer leaked Avandia study

A reviewer of last year's linkurl:meta-analysis;http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/356/24/2457 of GlaxoSmithKline's diabetes drug, linkurl:Avandia,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53284/ leaked the study to the company prior to its publication in the __New England Journal of Medicine__, according to a linkurl:story;http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080130/full/451509a.html appearing today (Jan. 30) in __Nature__. Last year, Avandia, joined the ranks of blockbuster drugs associ

By | January 30, 2008

A reviewer of last year's linkurl:meta-analysis;http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/356/24/2457 of GlaxoSmithKline's diabetes drug, linkurl:Avandia,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53284/ leaked the study to the company prior to its publication in the __New England Journal of Medicine__, according to a linkurl:story;http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080130/full/451509a.html appearing today (Jan. 30) in __Nature__. Last year, Avandia, joined the ranks of blockbuster drugs associated with serious health risks: The meta-analysis published in __NEJM__ showed that the Avandia increased the risk of heart attacks in patients who took it. It turns out that Steven Haffner, a diabetes researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, faxed a copy of the manuscript to GSK more than two weeks prior to its publication in __NEJM__. Haffner admitted to __Nature__ that he leaked the study, but failed to divulge a motive for his actions. "Why I sent it is a mystery," Haffner told the journal. "I don't really understand it. I wasn't feeling well. It was bad judgement." Haffner did tell __Nature__, however, that he has served on a GSK steering committee for a clinical trial of Avandia, that he knew the GSK employee, Alexander Corbit, from working with the company previously, and that he had previously been paid to give talks for GSK. No word yet on whether or not __NEJM__ will ban Haffner from reviewing their manuscripts as they did last year to a reviewer who linkurl:leaked the results;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53112/ of a cardiology study only two days before its publication. A statement Emailed to __The Scientist__ from the medical journal said only that __NEJM__ considers the peer-review process to be confidential. "Any breach of ethics by a reviewer would be taken very seriously by the editors, but would be handled as a private matter," the statement read.

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