Avandia critic: FDA launched smear campaign

In the awake of articles suggesting that diabetes drug Avandia could be dangerous, critics have slammed the agency, suggesting that it should have responded to danger signs long ago. Now the agency is slamming back. The Cleveland Clinic cardiologist whose research created a furor over Avandia now says that an FDA spokesman has targeted him for a smear campaign. In an e-mail message sent to health reporters, FDA communications consultant Douglas Arbesfeld accuses Dr. Steven Nissen of slamming Glaxo because the drug maker isn't sponsoring trials at the Clinic. Nissen, who chairs Cleveland Clinic's cardiovascular medicine practice, says that Arbesfeld's claims are "offensive." He notes that he's been a prominent critic of Celebrex, a Pfizer product, despite serving as principal investigator for one of Pfizer's trials. Nissen co-authored a recently-published New England Journal of Medicine article suggesting that the diabetes drug may increase the risk of heart attacks by 43 percent.

To find out more about the controversy:
- read this ABCNews.com article

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