Conflicts of Interest in Science
FDA and the Tambocor scandal


18 May 2000

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 12:37:02 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Roy L. Beavers" <>
To: emfguru <>
Subject: RE: New England Journal of Medicine Editorial

.......Dean's response below is particularly welcome because it brings to mind something of which EVERYONE should be reminded --

The FDA (see sordid story below) is the same FDA that is now incharge of cell phone research in U.S. ... and ...  all their literature openly avows that they have "teamed up with industry"to conduct that research.......

God help us........!!!  (Maybe better that we help ourselves -- and tell our government we aren't going to take this industry-government "love affair" modus operandi any more.......!!!)  U.S. Government seems to be incapable of understanding the word:  INDEPENDENT.....  Which was just given "top billing" in the U.K. report by Sir Stewart's group.....


Roy Beavers (EMFguru)

It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness

People are more important than profits!!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 12:21:22 -0500
From: Dean Mouscher <>
To: "Roy L. Beavers" <>
Subject: RE: New England Journal of Medicine Editorial (guru)..

Dear Roy:

The best, best, best description I've ever read of how money influences science is the book "Deadly Medicine" by a professor at George Washington University named Thomas Moore.  It focuses on the Tambocor scandal (which incredibly almost nobody's ever heard of).  What happened is this: for some time it's been known that arrhythmia - irregular heartbeat - is statistically correlated with sudden cardiac death.  Somehow it became accepted in the cardiac community that if you could develop a drug to suppress arrhythmia, it would lower the incidence of sudden cardiac death. Mind you there was zero evidence for that but of course that theory was extremely economically convenient for the drug industry.

Under pressure from physicians with ties to the drug industry, the FDA decided to accept reduced arrhythmia as a "surrogate marker" for reduced risk of sudden cardiac death.  If a drug company could develop a drug to suppress arrhythmia, it would be able to market it as "safe and effective" for reducing the probability of sudden cardiac death.

And so the race was on.  One of the first to successfully develop such a drug was 3M, and the drug was Tambocor.  "Marquis professors" were paid big money to tout the drug in the cardiac community and massage the data to make it look good, and Tambocor was approved by the FDA.  For several years hundreds of thousands of Americans faithfully took Tambocor to reduce their risk of dying.

After a few years, somebody decided to do a double-blind study to see if, in fact, Tambocor did reduce the risk of death.  And lo and behold, 4 to 5 times more patients on Tambocor dropped dead of a heart attack than patients on the placebo.  Moore goes on to calculate a low and high estimate for how many Americans this drug killed.  Even the low estimate is, as I recall, over 100,000.

Moore doesn't editorialize and his "just the facts ma'am" style is powerful and compelling.  For all those who think people like you are nutty conspiracy theorists, the book paints a crystal clear picture of how economic interests push science and the most well-meaning and reputable scientists in a particular direction.  Result: distortion and perversion of facts and truth.

Most of the marquis profs involved wouldn't be interviewed for the book, but one would.  His blithe conviction that "the system worked" and his clear conscience about the whole affair are particularly chilling.


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