FDA Approves Generic Clopidogrels As Plavix Loses Patent Protection

For the second time in the past six months, a cardiology mainstay drug has lost patent protection and gone generic. Today the FDA announced that it had approved several generic versions of clopidogrel (Plavix), the antiplatelet drug that for many years was the second best-selling drug in the world. Last November the best-selling drug of all time, Lipitor…

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Atorvastatin Lifts Ranbaxy While Pfizer Abandons Its Lipitor Marketing Efforts

Pfizer will no longer aggressively market Lipitor (atorvastatin), its former crown jewel and the most lucrative pharmaceutical product ever. At the same time, generic drug manufacturer Ranbaxy posted record revenue for the last business quarter, growth fueled largely by sales of generic atorvastatin in the United States. Pfizer told the Wall Street Journal that it…

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Persistent Concerns About Lorcaserin (Lorqess) From FDA Reviewers

The FDA has posted briefing documents for Thursday’s meeting of the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee to reconsider the new drug application for lorcaserin (Lorqess, Arena). The same panel recommended against approval of the drug in September 2010, citing weak efficacy and safety concerns. The FDA reviewers do not appear to have substantially altered…

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When You’re Hot You’re Hot: Salim Yusuf Second Most Influential Scientist in 2011

McMaster University’s Salim Yusuf has tied for second place in the annual ranking of the “hottest” scientific researchers, according to Thomson Reuter’s Science Watch.  Yusuf was a co-author of 13 of the most cited papers in 2011. Only one other researcher, genomic pioneer Eric Lander of the Broad Institute of MIT, had more highly-cited papers than Yusuf. Two of…

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New Perspective on the Dutch Cardiovascular Research Scandal

New information and details have  emerged about the cardiovascular research scandal in the Netherlands. One prominent cardiologist with close ties to the central character in the scandal has been cleared of wrongdoing by his institution and a feature magazine article sheds new light on that central character, Don Poldermans. As previously reported here last November,…

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Million Dollar Bonuses For Five Ohio State University Electrophysiologists

Five Ohio State University electrophysiologists received 2011 bonus payments greater than $1 million, resulting in total pay for the year for each cardiologist of about $2 million. The news was first reported by the Dayton Daily News and subsequently covered by Heartwire. Five out of the 7 bonuses that topped $1 million at OSU went to the…

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Round Two: Heart Rhythm Editor Rejects St Jude Request to Retract Riata Paper

Douglas Zipes, the editor of Heart Rhythm, said the journal will not retract a controversial paper that has raised new safety concerns about St. Jude’s embattled Riata leads. On Friday (as reported here) St. Jude issued a press release alleging numerous mistakes and oversights in an article by Robert Hauser published online in Heart Rhythm linking the company’s Riata…

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NIH Appoints Gary Gibbons As Next Director of the NHLBI

Gary Gibbons will be the next Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The selection of Gibbons was announced today by the National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins. Gibbons is the founder and current director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, chairperson of the Department of Physiology, and professor of physiology and medicine at the…

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And the 2012 Award For the Most Dumbass Drug Promotion Goes To…

The year 2012 is only 25% complete but it’s never too early to recognize an unprecedented and bold achievement in drug marketing. …

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Eric Peterson to Succeed Bob Harrington as Director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute

The Duke Clinical Research Institute has announced that its new director will be Eric Peterson. The DCRI was founded by Robert Califf, who, as the director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute (DTMI), will be Peterson’s boss. The DCRI’s second director, Robert Harrington, announced earlier this year that he was leaving Duke to become the chairman of the department…

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Welcome to Chicago!

Get ready for ACC.1212, the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology. Sessions start on Saturday. The first late-breakers come off embargo at 9 AM ET (8 AM CT). See you in Chicago!…

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Prominent Japanese Cardiologist Accused of Scientific Misconduct

Following accusations by independent bloggers in Japan and Germany, the American Heart Association (AHA) has issued an Expression of Concern about five papers published in AHA journals co-authored by Hiroaki Matsubara, a prominent cardiologist and researcher at Kyoto Prefectural University in Japan. In addition to his many papers exploring the basic science of the renin-angiotensin system, Matsubara…

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Michael Ezekowitz Joining Cardiovascular Research Foundation To Establish AFib Research Center

Correction: An earlier version of this article erroneously stated that Ezekowitz would be leaving Lankenau.  Michael Ezekowitz is  joining the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF) in New York City to start a new center for atrial fibrillation research. Ezekowitz, a cardiologist at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research in Philadelphia, had been a professor and vice president for clinical research at…

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YouTube, NEJM, Whitney Houston, and Alpha Male Monkeys

Take a close look at this screenshot from YouTube (click to expand): Jim Ware, the legendary New England Journal of Medicine biostatistician: 8 views. Jerome Kassirer, Marcia Angell, and Arnold Relman, former NEJM editors: 36, 28, and 257 views. Whitney Elizabeth Houston Funeral Service: 994,920 views. (And how many more Whitney Houston videos do you think…

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FDA Advisory Panel Gives Green Light to Qnexa Diet Pill

Breaking a long streak of bad news for diet drugs, an FDA advisory panel on Wednesday voted 20-2 in favor of approval for Qnexa, the combination of  phentermine and topiramate under development by Vivus. Panel members strongly suggested that Vivus be required to perform a cardiovascular outcomes trial, though it was not immediately clear if this…

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Japanese Researcher With Harvard Connections Retracts 3 Articles in AHA Journals

Akio Kawakami, a well published lipid researcher at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, has retracted 3 papers from AHA journals, including one article in AHA’s flagship journal Circulation. News of the retractions was first reported on Retraction Watch. Two of Kawakami’s co-authors are well known researchers affiliated with Harvard University and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Peter Libby and…

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Robert Harrington Leaving Duke for Stanford University

Robert Harrington will be leaving his position as the director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, a position he has held since 2006, to become the new chair of the department of medicine at Stanford University. Harrington was also the Richard S. Stack MD Distinguished Professor at Duke University School of Medicine. The news was publicly…

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Lancet Editor Richard Horton Tweets Dark View of Contemporary Medicine

One brief message at a time, Lancet editor Richard Horton is tweeting his dark view of the contemporary medical establishment. If you have any interest at all in peeking behind the curtain to see what really goes on behind the scenes of top medical organizations then you need to follow Richard Horton’s Twitter feed. In sudden…

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Industry & Medicine: It’s Complicated

Some people think industry exerts a uniformly negative force on medicine, or at least that’s the only aspect they focus on when they write or talk about the issue. Others focus exclusively on the beneficial effects of industry, and exhibit amnesia in their failure to recall the numerous instances in recent years in which the…

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Part 1: The National Lipid Association and the FH Guidelines

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a three-part series on the National Lipid Association. This first part focuses on the NLA’s publication of a series of papers offering expert guidance on familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and raises serious questions about the role of industry in the documents. The second part explores additional questions about the…

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ACC CEO Jack Lewin Provides The Argument Against Industry Money

The ACC’s CEO Jack Lewin may have put forth the single best and most concise argument against industry funding of medical societies. Here’s what Lewin told ProPublica: The “circus element” of the exhibit booths doesn’t unduly influence attendees, Lewin said. “I don’t buy a soft drink just because of the advertising… I buy it because…

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WebMD: the 800 Pound Gorilla in the Room

There’s been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere and twittersphere about Virginia Heffernan’s column in the New York Times magazine on Sunday comparing WebMD very unfavorably to MayoClinic.Com. Heffernan makes a fairly simple point: because of WebMD’s “(admitted) connections to pharmaceutical and other companies,” the site is “permeated with pseudomedicine and subtle misinformation.” Because…

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Blue light special: AAA screening at Kmart in the disease-mongering aisle

Now, in addition to all the other stuff  there, you can go to Kmart and get screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Some people will even receive free ultrasound tests. The new program, from the Find the AAAnswers Coalition, was announced on Friday. It’s a perfect example of disease mongering, the selling of a sickness…

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At the Dallas valve meeting even the faculty is for sale

[August 6 Update: the Industry Prospectus discussed below has been removed from the DLIV 2010 website. You can download an archived copy here.] Company banners, ads in program books, sponsored badge holders, headrests on buses with company logos– these are just a few of the commercial items to be found at medical meetings these days….

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Avandia aftermath: who are the winners and losers?

Responses to the Avandia panel have been all over the map, as cleverly noted on the Wall Street Journal health blog. Avandia is “dead” (Forbes), or, perhaps worse, “now a Zombie” (BNET). By contrast, others thought the panel granted Avandia a “reprieve” (Wall Street Journal and that Avandia would now probably be allowed to stay on…

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