Peer review dig denied by court

A federal judge in Chicago last Friday denied Pfizer's efforts to obtain confidential linkurl:peer review;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23061/ documents related to two of its drugs from the New England Journal of Medicine, stating that any benefits of disclosing the subpoenaed documents would be "outweighed by the burden and harm that would result"

By | March 17, 2008

A federal judge in Chicago last Friday denied Pfizer's efforts to obtain confidential linkurl:peer review;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23061/ documents related to two of its drugs from the New England Journal of Medicine, stating that any benefits of disclosing the subpoenaed documents would be "outweighed by the burden and harm that would result" to the journal. In January, Pfizer filed a linkurl:motion;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54368/ to force the NEJM to hand over peer-reviewers' comments from 11 studies relating to the arthritis drugs Bextra and Celebrex. Pfizer is currently being sued in a class-action lawsuit in a northern California federal court by patients who took the drugs, and the company argues that the manuscripts could assist in their defense. The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, however, rejected the claims, stating that Pfizer had not adequately explained how the peer reviews could help. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys also wrote that "compelling production of peer review documents would compromise the process" of confidentiality, according to a news article in linkurl:Science.;http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2008/314/1 A similar suit is still pending in a US District Court in Massachusetts, where NEJM is also trying to block the Pfizer subpoena. That decision is expected within the next two weeks.

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