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Drug company sues Spanish bulletin over fraud claim

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 22 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:188
  1. Liza Gibson
  1. London

    One of Spain's independent drug bulletins, Butlletí Groc, is being sued by Merck Sharp & Dohme for an article that claimed that the company committed scientific fraud in a trial of its cyclo-oxegenase-2 (COX 2) inhibitor rofecoxib (Vioxx). The case opened in Madrid last week.

    The company wants the bulletin to retract its article on the Vioxx gastrointestinal outcomes research (VIGOR) trial and publish a new one reproducing text prepared by the company. However, Professor Joan-Ramon Laporte, the bulletin's editor, refuses to do so.

    He said: “I feel this is an attack on independent information on drugs. The pharmaceutical industry has almost a monopoly on information on drugs and therapeutics.” Professor Laporte claimed that the company's text was “mainly propaganda” for rofecoxib.

    The article, entitled “The so called advantages of celecoxib and rofecoxib: scientific fraud,” was published in the July-September 2002 issue of the bulletin (2002;15: 13-5) but was not based on new material. It summarised earlier commentaries in the Lancet ( 2002;360: 100-1)and the BMJ ( 2002;324: 1287-8) on irregularities in the conduct and analysis of the VIGOR trial and the celecoxib long term arthritis safety study (CLASS). These large trials compared the gastrointestinal safety of …

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