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Integrity in Science Watch Week of 11/27/2006


Headlines
FDA Issues Six Waivers for Celebrex Meeting

American Diabetes Association's New Guidelines Don't End Conflicts of Interest

Science Teachers Group Rejects Gore's "Inconvenient Truth"

Leading Medical Journal Fails to Mention Author's Ties Disclosed by Smaller Publication

Odds and Ends

FDA Issues Six Waivers for Celebrex Meeting

The Food and Drug Administration's Arthritis Drugs Advisory Committee has issued six waivers for its November 29 meeting, which will consider whether Pfizer's Celebrex is safe and effective for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in patients two years and older. The waivers will allow physicians who have financial ties to firms with a direct stake in the outcome of the meeting to weigh Pfizer's application. They include Joan M. Bathon, a rheumatologist at Johns Hopkins University and a standing member of the committee, who has received research support from and consults for Immunex, which makes a rheumatoid arthritis biologic; Louis A. Morris, whose private consulting company does work for Pfizer and numerous other pharmaceutical firms; and Dennis Turk, a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Washington, who consults for Pfizer.Turk's deal with Pfizer may be unpaid since his waiver only covers consulting and advisory relationships with firms that are competitors to Pfizer.

American Diabetes Association's New Guidelines Don't End Conflicts of Interest

The American Diabetes Association continues to form million-dollar partnerships with food and pharmaceutical companies despite recent changes to their corporate fund-raising guidelines triggered by ethics concerns, The New York Times reported Saturday. As part of a $1.5 million sponsorship deal with Cadbury-Schweppes, the ADA has allowed the confectioner to put its logo on "healthy" Cadbury products such as diet sodas, and has promoted the company as a sponsor at ADA events. The pharmaceutical industry has contributed millions to ADA, including Bayer, Eli Lilly, and GlaxoSmithKline. Six of seven physicians sitting on an ADA panel that considered controversial drug treatments for the approximately 41 million people at elevated risk for Type 2 diabetes have received money from pharmaceuticals companies. Three of those reported direct compensation from GlaxoSmithKline, a company that recently finished clinical trials for a prediabetes drug and donated $1 million to ADA last year.

ADA's incoming president, Dr. John Buse of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told the Times that he does not believe that these relationships with industry influence the organization's policy. The Times failed to report that Buse has received financial support from Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Merck, and Novartis (see Integrity in Science database). Two former top executives at drug and device companies have led the ADA in recent years. The ADA says the new guidelines will help them "refrain from associating with companies that have the potential to damage ADA's image because of the nature of the companies' products, services or reputation." The group has let some food company deals expire as a result of the new guidelines.

Science Teachers Group Rejects Gore's "Inconvenient Truth"

The National Science Teachers Association refused to accept 50,000 free DVDs donated by the company that made the global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," citing concerns that it would place "unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters" such as ExxonMobil Corp., producer Laurie David wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post on Sunday. ExxonMobil has given NSTA $6 million since 1996, mostly for the association's "Building a Presence for Science" program, and it has a representative on the group's corporate advisory board.

NSTA also receives funding from Shell Oil and the American Petroleum Institute, which has provided money for the association's web site on the science of energy. The web site included a section called "Running on Oil" that praised the industry's environmental record (itís been removed), and NSTA has distributed an API-produced video called "You Canít Be Cool Without Fuel," according to the Department of Energy. The organization has also distributed materials on forestry provided by Weyerhaeuser and International Paper, as well as information on genetic engineering courtesy of Monsanto .

Leading Medical Journal Fails to Mention Author's Ties Disclosed by Smaller Publication

In a recent review of sepsis treatments, the New England Journal of Medicine failed to disclose the author's financial ties to Eli Lilly, maker of the lucrative anti-sepsis drug Xigris. James A. Russell, a professor at the University of British Columbia, had disclosed those ties earlier this year in a review of treatments for the life-threatening blood infection that appeared in another, less prestigious publication called Critical Care. The Oct. 19 NEJM article did not disclose that Russell had participated in Eli Lilly-sponsored clinical trials and had consulted for the Indianapolis-based firm.

Odds and Ends

According to the Wall Street Journal, stock analysts who follow the drug and device industries fear Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, will serve on an FDA panel on Dec. 7-8 that will evaluate the safety of drug-eluting stents. Nissen, who frequently consults with industry but turns the money over to charity, helped bring the Vioxx disaster to light . . . The Boca Raton News ran an op-ed by the American Council on Science and Health's Molly Lee disputing a recent article in The Lancet that suggested chemicals may be damaging children's brains. The article failed to identify that ACSH receives funds from the chemical industry.


Integrity in Science Archives

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