Scientific Activism in the News

Today's New York Times includes a profile of drug safety advocate Dr. Steven E. Nissen by medical business writer Stephanie Saul:

His questioning of the safety of the Avandia diabetes medication in late May, for example, prompted a federal safety alert and led to a sales decline of about 30 percent for the drug, which brought in $3.2 billion for GlaxoSmithKline last year. Now, with a federal panel soon to decide whether it can remain on the market, Avandia's future is uncertain.

The drug is the latest example of why Dr. Nissen, 58, whose day job is chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, has emerged as a Naderesque figure and the nation's unofficial arbiter of drug safety.

Admirers laud him not only for raising safety questions about Avandia, but also for sounding early warnings about the painkiller Vioxx, as well as other drugs. By digging deeply into companies' own clinical trial data -- information that used to be available only to federal drug regulators who did not always mine it as aggressively -- Dr. Nissen is among a new cadre of activist scientists demanding greater vigilance on drug safety.

(Emphasis added)

Check out the full article here.

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