Pain-pill advisers had ties to makers
Ten of the 32 consulted for the firms in recent years. Such ties are common, contentious.
By Gardiner Harris and Alex Berenson, New York Times News Service
Ten of the 32 government drug advisers who last week endorsed continued marketing of the huge-selling pain pills Celebrex, Bextra and Vioxx have consulted in recent years for the drugs' makers, according to disclosures in medical journals and other public records.
If the 10 advisers had not cast their votes, the committee would have voted 12-8 that Bextra should be withdrawn and 14-8 that Vioxx should not return to the market. The 10 advisers with company ties voted 9-1 to keep Bextra on the market and 9-1 for Vioxx's return.
... Ten members of the panel have worked in some capacity in recent years for Merck, the maker of Vioxx; Pfizer, the maker of Celebrex and Bextra; or Novartis, which is applying to sell Prexige.
In their votes, the members with financial ties to the companies were 10 times more likely to favor the drugs as those without such ties.
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