A Texas researcher has admitted that he leaked a copy of the now infamous New England Journal of Medicine article that tied Avandia to an elevated heart risks. Steven Haffner of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio conceded that he faxed a pre-publication copy of the report to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the makers of Avandia, 17 days before the article was published. Haffner claims that the act was gratuitous and that he received no compensation and was not persuaded in any way by GSK representatives to share the privileged information. Sen. Chuck Grassley is leading the investigation in to the incident.
The May report linking the drug to a 43 per cent increased risk of heart attack started the downhill slide for the once blockbuster medication. Over the past several months GSK has seen Avandia sales plummet as the controversy surrounding the drug has grown. The FDA has issued two of its strictest warnings for Avandia but has allowed the drug to remain on the market. Additional studies have suggested made similar findings; however, GSK maintains that these studies are flawed and do not accurately represent the actual risks of taking Avandia.