Senate reports states GSK intimidated researcher

WASHINGTON A new report released by Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, suggests that GlaxoSmithKline intimidated and silenced university professor John Buse after he complained that the company’s diabetes drug Avandia was linked to cardiovascular events.

According to the report, after Buse voiced concerns with Avandia, GSK employees labeled him a renegade, complained to his superiors and threatened a lawsuit, the report says. At one point, Buse said a company employee told his department chair that Buse could be held liable for a $4 billion drop in the company’s stock.

GSK then prepared a letter for Buse to sign that said he was no longer worried about an increased risk of cardiovascular events with Avandia use. The company showed the letter to a consulting firm that was evaluating GSK’s products for investors. Buse also signed a legal document agreeing not to discuss the issue in public. High-ranking executives, including chief executive officer Jean-Pierre Garnier, were involved in discussions to silence Buse, according to the committee report.

GSK has said that the accusations are “absolutely false.”

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