New heart medication study was “too flawed for publication”, says former journal editor

As a heart attack survivor, I’d love to believe that when my doctors read medical journal articles, what they’re reading about new drugs is true. But I might be wrong. Consider, for example, the criticisms aimed at a study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine by the journal’s own former editor. Dr. Arnold Relman, professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School, not only points out a couple of glaringly obvious omissions in this published research, but he also claims that he would have never have accepted such an article for publication during his NEJM tenure.

The study focused on an anticoagulant drug called apixiban (brand name: Eliquis) and it was entirely funded by drug giants Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer, who happen to jointly manufacture Eliquis.  Quelle surprise . . .  The drug companies claim that Eliquis helps prevent blood clots from forming following major surgery like knee replacement, and may prevent strokes in patients with the heart arrhythmia condition called atrial fibrillation.

But wait, warns author and investigative health journalist Alison BassContinue reading

How did this heart drug get approved in the first place?

In case you believe that the medicine you’re taking has been adequately tested on real live patients before being legally approved, you might want to consider research published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine*. A heart drug called nesiritide that for the past 10 years has been given to hospitalized patients with acute heart failure has failed to show any improvement compared to placebo.

But the drug had somehow received FDA approval in 2001 for use on these patients – after initial non-approval. Continue reading