Finally, someone asked the question we've been wanting to ask ourselves: Even if the Enhance study data remained blinded, could Merck or Schering-Plough have divined its overall sway? Sen. Charles Grassley, who's been shooting out letters to the two companies at the rate of at least two a week, made the query in another round of correspondence yesterday.
The question of who knew what exactly when has been central to the whole Vytorin controversy. As the world waited for the Enhance results, did Merck and Schering execs know Vytorin didn't slow the progression of heart disease any better than simvastatin alone? Did Schering execs know anything, for instance, when they sold millions worth of stock last May? Did the companies know anything while they were pushing Vytorin via a big-time TV ad blitz?
Grassley's counterparts in the House also posted new letters this week, asking about some posts on a website for drug reps, Café Pharma. One post last March said, "have a buddy at [Schering-Plough Research Institute]. He says that the study is a bust." Who else, Congress wants to know, might this "buddy" have told?