Wyeth suppresses research on pill, programme claims

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 10 March 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:571
  1. Godelieve van Heteren
  1. Nijmegen

    A Dutch radio broadcast has reopened the debate on the venous thromboembolic risks of the third generation of oral contraceptive pills. The broadcast, by an investigative team from the radio station VPRO, looked into the industrial tactics to keep these drugs in the market.

    The team, known as Argos, claimed that the pill manufacturer Wyeth had shelved a 1997 study said to indicate clear increases in the risks of developing deep venous thrombosis in several third generation pills. The Argos team recently came into possession of the summary, key findings, and conclusions of the Wyeth study.

    When the team sought further comment, the company refused to disclose the full report on the grounds that it “did not add anything” to existing knowledge of the subject.

    On further inquiry, it emerged that Wyeth had in fact submitted the study results to the European Medicines Evaluation Agency in 1999, after a legal suit was mounted in Germany concerning third generation contraceptives. The results, however, …

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