Did GSK ignore early abacavir warning?

Back in 2005, Swedish pharma monitors raised a red flag on the HIV fighter abacavir and its possible link to heart attacks, The Independent is reporting. Thirty-four patients taking abacavir had heart attacks, the Uppsala Monitoring Centre told GSK in May 2005, the newspaper says. Nothing was said publicly, however, until April 2008.

You'll recall that last month, The Lancet published a study showing that abacavir patients had almost double the risk of heart attack as did patients taking other AIDS drugs. Independent scientists said at the time that the data wasn't strong enough to prove a causal link, but that the link was too pronounced to ignore. The same scientists also questioned the data GSK used to back up its pooh-poohing of the link. At the time, the company called the study's findings "unexpected."

- read the story in the Independent