FDA Reviewers Raise No New Red Flags Over Lomitapide

FDA reviewers have raised no new concerns about lomitapide ahead of a Wednesday meeting of the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee.  The FDA today released briefing documents that evaluate the new drug application (NDA) for lomitapide capsules, the microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) inhibitor from  Aegerion Pharmaceuticals for use as an adjunct to a low-fat diet and…

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Free Cardiac And Spine Surgery For Walmart Employees At Six Hospitals

Starting next year 1.1 million US Walmart employees and their dependents will be eligible for free heart, spine, and transplant surgery at 6 highly regarded health care organizations. Walmart employees will have no out-of-pocket costs, including travel, lodging and food for the patient and a caregiver. On Thursday the company announced that its “Centers of Excellence”…

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Chocolate And Nobel Prizes Linked In Study

You don’t have to be a genius to like chocolate, but geniuses are more likely to eat lots of chocolate, at least according to a new paper published in the august New England Journal of Medicine. Franz Messerli reports a highly significant correlation between a nation’s per capita chocolate consumption and the rate at which its…

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Erasmus Medical Center Releases Final Report On Cardiovascular Research Scandal

After an extensive investigation, a large medical center in the Netherlands has confirmed earlier charges of research misconduct against a prominent cardiovascular researcher. On Tuesday, Erasmus MC in Rotterdam released a final report on the scientific integrity of trials conducted by Don Poldermans, a well-known and highly prolific Dutch cardiovascular researcher. The final report contains…

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Walking With the American Heart Association: Valerie Bertinelli and Chester Cheetah

A few weeks ago Chester Cheetah, the official mascot for Frito Lay’s Cheetos, played an official part in  the American Heart Association’s Dallas Heart Walk. Yoni Freedhoff, on his Weighty Matters blog, pretty much says what needs to be said about this disgraceful association between Frito Lay and the AHA. This weekend I received a press kit…

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Merck Returns To Cardiome All Rights To Atrial Fibrillation Drug Vernakalant

Merck and Cardiome announced today that Merck was returning to Cardiome all marketing and development rights for the atrial fibrillation (AF) drug vernakalant. An intravenous formulation of vernakalant is marketed in Europe as Brinavess. It has not been approved in the United States, though it received a positive recommendation from the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal…

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A Manhattan Project To End The Obesity Epidemic

A newly launched nonprofit organization, the Nutrition Science Initiative, will try to find an answer to the question,  “What should we eat to be healthy?” NuSI is nothing if not ambitious: its goal is to seek “the end of fad diets and high obesity rates.” The founders of the organization, called NuSI (pronounced “new see”) for short, are Gary Taubes…

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News Briefs: Cholesterol Trends, AHA Late-Breakers, FDA Updates On Rivaroxaban And Heartware HVAD

Cholesterol Trends The Centers for Disease Control issued a new report with the latest details about the prevalence of cholesterol screening and high blood cholesterol in US adults. Here is their summary of the key findings: …cholesterol screening increased from 72.7% in 2005 to 76.0% in 2009, whereas the percentage of those screened who reported…

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Plagiarism Of Hypertension Article In Korean Journal Results In Retraction

In response to evidence of plagiarism in a review article in the Korean Circulation Journal, the article has now been retracted by the journal. Here is the notice: On July 31, 2011, Korean Circulation Journal (KCJ) published a review article by Park et al.1)regarding the J-curve in hypertension and coronary artery diseases. However, a possibility of plagiarism has…

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Greetings From ESC 2012 In Munich

The ESC gets started this weekend. Here’s a little taste of Munich:    …

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Guest Post: Why Is The National Library Of Medicine Still Indexing Reviews In Cardiovascular Medicine?

The following guest post by Kevin Lomangino was originally published on HealthNewsReview.org. Lomangino is an independent medical journalist and editor who is currently Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Nutrition Insight, a monthly evidence-based newsletter which reviews the scientific literature on nutrition for physicians and dietitians. He tweets [email protected] Why Is the National Library of Medicine Still Indexing Reviews in Cardiovascular…

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NY Times: HCA Concealed Significant Problems At Lucrative Cardiac Centers

Despite numerous internal reviews that turned up a widespread pattern of unnecessary cardiology procedures being performed at many of its hospitals, the giant HCA corporation did little to rein in the problem or to inform regulators, payers, or patients about the problem, according to an investigative report in the New York Times by Reed Abelson and…

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Industry PR Efforts Influence Debate On Cholesterol Screening Guidelines For Children

Note: This post is accompanied by a separate guest post by James Stein. What role should industry play in discussions about guidelines, especially when the debate about those guidelines includes allegations that industry may have influenced the final product of the guidelines? Should a public relations agency that represents a company with a product that…

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Cardiologist William Maisel Arrested In Prostitution Sting Operation

Cardiologist William Maisel, the deputy director for science at the FDA Center of Devices and Radiological Health, was arrested on prostitution charges after being caught in an undercover sting operation in North Laurel, Maryland. Maisel was one of 10 men arrested on July 13. The Savage-Guilford Patch reported that Maisel “approached a plain-clothed female police officer and…

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Authors Retract Article About Websites That Sell Statins Without Prescriptions

An article in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety about websites that advertise statins to consumers has been retracted by the authors after one company mentioned in the article disputed the authors’ assertion that the company sold statins to patients who did not have a prescription. The news was reported on Retraction Watch. Here’s the notice: The following article…

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St Jude CEO Spills The Beans On PFO Closure Trial

(Updated at bottom with statement from St. Jude Medical) Dan Starks, the CEO of St Jude Medical, stated during a quarterly earnings call last week that results of the RESPECT trial of PFO closure for crytpogenic stroke were “favorable” and that the full trial results will be presented in October at the TCT meeting in Miami. But his statement…

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FDA Approves Another New Weight Loss Drug

The US FDA today approved a new weight loss drug that will be called Qsymia,the brand name for the combination of two previously approved drugs, phentermine and extended-release topiramate. The drug is manufactured by Vivus, Inc. In a press release, the FDA said Qsymia had been approved for use in obese adults (BMI of 30 or…

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Still The One: Cleveland Clinic Retains Top Spot On US News & World Report Heart Hospital Rankings

US News & World Report has published its annual “Best Hospitals” list. Once again, the Cleveland Clinic is the top hospital for heart and heart surgery. Massachusetts General was the top hospital overall, followed by Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, and the Cleveland Clinic. Here are the top 20 hospitals for heart and heart surgery:…

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NY Times: FDA Officials Spied On Its Own Scientists

FDA officials developed “a wide-ranging surveillance operation” against a group of its own “dissident” scientists, according to a news report by Eric Lichtblau and Scott Shane in the New York Times. The surveillance program secretly recorded thousands of emails the scientists sent to each other as well as to members of congress, journalists, and, the…

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Coca-Cola, The Olympic Torch, And The American College Of Cardiology

William Zoghbi, the current president of the American College of Cardiology, today served as a torchbearer for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The ACC, naturally, was proud of the honor and tweeted the event. Zoghbi himself wrote about it on his ACC blog.  But I couldn’t help noticing one line in Zoghbi’s blog:  I…

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Get Ready For Munich: ESC Releases List Of Hot Line Sessions

Here is the list of Hot Line sessions scheduled for the European Society of Cardiology ESC) meeting in Munich:…

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One Reader’s Negative View Of Mark Midei

A few months ago I posted a lengthy piece about Mark Midei, the interventional cardiologist from Maryland who had his medical license suspended last year following a lengthy scandal in which he became the poster-boy (or scapegoat, depending on whom you ask) for all that’s wrong with interventional cardiology in the US. Although I was highly critical…

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Who Really Won Today? Two Views On Roberts And The Commerce Clause

I had planned to stay out of it. Like every other health care journalist I’ve been following today’s Supreme Court decision, but I have no special expertise in this area and I hadn’t planned  to write about it. But then I became interested in a slightly different angle of the story. An article in Slate…

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Single Case Report Casts New Doubts About St. Jude Durata ICD Leads

Editor’s Note: The following guest post is published with the permission of its author,  Edward J. Schloss, MD, (Twitter ID @EJSMD) the medical director of cardiac electrophysiology at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, OH. As if on cue, just as the train pulled into the Nice-Ville station for this week’s Cardiostim 2012 meeting on the French Riviera, my…

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Subway Meals Get American Heart Association Endorsement

The American Heart Association (AHA) announced today that it had initiated a new program that it claims will help people choose healthy meals at restaurants. The Subway restaurant chain will be the first to display the Heart-Check Meal Certification logo next to certain selected meals. In a press release the AHA’s president, Gordon Tomaselli, said…

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