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Journal withdraws article after complaints from drug manufacturers

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 11 April 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2335

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

A paper suggesting that two new antidiabetes drugs could greatly increase the risk of pancreatitis and several cancers has been withdrawn from the website of the journal Gastroenterology after complaints from Novo Nordisk and Merck, the drugs’ manufacturers.

The companies wrote letters to Anil Rustgi, the journal’s editor in chief, after the paper appeared online. They expressed concern that the analysis, which used data derived from the US Food and Drug Administration’s adverse event reporting system, reached conclusions that could not be justified. Merck warned that the paper could have a negative effect on the care of patients, while Novo Nordisk claimed that it could spark an unnecessary health scare.

One of the authors of the paper, Peter Butler, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), said that the drug companies wanted the paper deleted. Gastroenterology’s website initially recorded the paper as “retracted,” which might imply that the authors themselves had chosen to remove it. This was not the case, Dr Butler said: the decision …

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