Doc: Merck Fudged Minutes of Meeting

Vytorin probe challeges firm's account of delay in trial results
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2008 9:33 AM CDT
Chairman of the board of the German pharmaceutical and chemical company Merck, Karl-Ludwig Kley, speaks during the annual shareholders meeting in Frankfurt, central Germany, Friday, March 28, 2008.    (AP Photo/Bernd Kammerer)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Merck's "minutes" of a meeting of heart doctors discussing cholesterol drug Vytorin were created a month after the meeting and distorted the viewpoints of the experts, one panel member changes. The drug company submitted the document to congressional investigators probing its two-year delay in releasing a report saying the drug didn't work any better than a much cheaper generic one, Bloomberg reports.

The minutes say the panel unanimously chose to change the study's objective, a decision the company made, and then withdrew, when experts called it unethical. But the doctor says the panel—who had been assured no minutes were being taken—merely discussed the pros and cons of such a move and didn't make any formal recommendations.