Firms Hid Bad News on Heart Drugs 2 Years: Doc

Merck and Schering-Plough delayed trial results on Vytorin, Zetia
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2008 10:49 AM CDT
The cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin, the product of a joint venture between pharmaceutical companies Merck & Co., and Schering-Plough Corp., is shown in this undated photo .   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A scientist hired by two drug companies to conduct trials of cholesterol-lowering drugs accused the firms of deliberately delaying release of the results, the New York Times reports. The results for the Vytorin and Zetia trials—which showed the drugs don't work to reduce plaque in arteries—were not released until almost two years after the medical trials wrapped up. 

The Dutch cardiologist questioned Merck and Schering-Plough's motives in a series of furious emails. "You will be seen as a company that tries to hide something, and I will be perceived as being in bed with you!” he wrote, threatening to resign. Congress is probing why it took the firms two years—during which they made billions in sales of the drugs—to release the findings.