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Novartis breached code after doctors say it “invented” a disease

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 14 December 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1379
  1. Annabel Ferriman
  1. BMJ

The drug company Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK has been found to be in breach of the industry's advertising code in promoting its drug nateglinide (Starlix).

A GP complained to the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority, a body set up by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry in 1993 to police its advertising rules, after he attended a meeting on diabetes and coronary heart disease. The meeting was organised by Lanarkshire health care committee and sponsored by Novartis.

At this meeting, a speaker used a large study—known as the DECODE study (Diabetes Epidemiology: Collaborative Analysis of Diagnostic Criteria in Europe)—to suggest that if doctors treating diabetes could reduce the high concentrations of sugar in their patients' blood after a meal, they could reduce their mortality. He produced literature from Novartis to support his …

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