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Majority of panelists on controversial new cholesterol guideline have current or recent ties to drug manufacturers

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 21 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6989

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Jeanne Lenzer
  1. 1New York

The chairman and one of two additional co-chairs of the working panel that wrote the controversial cholesterol guidelines on reducing cardiovascular risk, released last week,1 2 had ties to the drug industry at the time they were asked to lead the panel. And, in all, eight of the 15 panelists had industry ties.

The chairman, Neil J Stone, professor of medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, told the BMJ, “When I was asked by NHLBI [the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute] to chair the [cholesterol] panel, I immediately severed ties with all industry connections prior to assuming my role as chair.”

He severed those ties in May 2008. Later he had to complete a disclosure statement regarding financial ties to industry, and in response to the question regarding his ties from 2008 to 2012 he wrote “None.”

David Newman, a physician researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai in New York City, told the BMJ that dropping industry ties on taking up such roles without declaring these previous ties was against the spirit of competing interests declarations.

Stone acknowledged to the BMJ that before being empanelled he had financial ties to Abbott, AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis, and Schering-Plough, and he had served as a consultant to Abbott, AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Reliant, Schering-Plough, and Sonaste. All six corporations to which Stone had financial ties make drugs to treat hyperlipidemia. Stone said that he …

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