GSK exec pressured EHJ to quash Nissen article

GlaxoSmithKline research chief Moncef Slaoui wrote to editors of the European Heart Journal to try to persuade them not to publish in print form an online editorial from Avandia critic Dr. Steven Nissen (photo), a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. According to Slaoui, Nissen's article "is rife with inaccurate representations and speculation." He went on to list his problems with Nissen's facts.

But rather than bowing to the pressure, the journal chose to publish Slaoui's letter--and to give Nissen the chance to rebut that letter's charges, Pharmalot reports. Nissen did so, with a point-by-point analysis published in the same EHJ issue.

The journal also published its reasoning behind its decision. "Science is an interactive process," the journal's editors wrote, going on to say, "We cannot suppress concerns, data or divergent opinions--we must consider them and argue with data, numbers and plausibility."

Nissen has been something of a thorn in GSK's side when it comes to Avandia. He was the author of the now-infamous meta-analysis that first identified links between the diabetes medication and the risk of heart attack and other cardiac problems. Since then, the drug has been tagged with a new "black box" warning, and there's been a continual debate about its safety. The FDA is slated to convene an advisory committee in July to consider the drug's safety. Stay tuned.

- see Slaoui's letter in the EHJ 
- check out Nissen's rebuttal
- read the Pharmalot post