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The Drug Trial: Nancy Olivieri and the Science Scandal that Rocked the Hospital for Sick Children

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 07 July 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:115
  1. Christopher Martyn, associate editor (
  1. BMJ

    The facts go something like this. In 1996 Nancy Olivieri, a haematologist working at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, came to believe that an experimental iron chelating drug (deferiprone) that she was trialling in patients with thalassaemia was losing efficacy and causing serious adverse effects. Apotex, the company that made the drug and that was partly funding the trial, disagreed. When Olivieri indicated that she intended to inform participants of her concerns, Apotex terminated the trials and withdrew financial support. They invoked a confidentiality agreement in the research contract and threatened legal action if she made the findings public. Undeterred, Olivieri presented her results at a scientific meeting and submitted them for publication.

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    Miriam Shuchman

    Random House Canada, $C34.95, pp 464 ISBN 0 679 31084 3

    Rating: GraphicGraphicGraphicGraphic

    Shuchman retells the story from a worm's eye view, dwelling on the personalities involved, what they said about each other, who was sleeping with whom

    Events after the dispute between Olivieri and Apotex showed deep divisions and personal …

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