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Panel probes drug makers

March 06, 2007|From Bloomberg News

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) opened an investigation of research and marketing related to medical devices and drugs made by Boston Scientific Corp., Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly & Co., AstraZeneca and Cephalon Inc.

The companies received letters from Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asking for documents including correspondence with the Food and Drug Administration. The letters on the committee's website Monday suggest Waxman is concerned that not all research results were turned over to the FDA before approval.

The California Democrat asked in the letters for detailed information on allegations of inappropriate marketing of drugs and unapproved uses of stents. The move reflects a pledge by Democrats who took control of Congress in January to investigate health industry practices. At a hearing last month, the veteran lawmaker accused drug makers of profiteering.

"It's the kind of headlines you would expect given the Democratic Congress," said Barbara Ryan, an analyst at Deutsche Bank in Greenwich, Conn. "Whether there's any material impact, I would tend to doubt."

Waxman asked the five companies whether they used marketing funds on clinical trials, how much researchers were paid and whether the companies helped write their manuscripts. Waxman also asked for data on unwanted side effects found during trials and post-approval use of the products.

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