IG asked to probe Graham harassment

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Finance Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has asked the HHS inspector general to find out how an FDA employee worked "in concert with a pharmaceutical drug maker to discredit the FDA scientist who publicized information about the safety risks of the drug Vioxx."

The request was based on the handwritten notes of a Merck executive about his meeting with a high-level FDA official that indicated the FDA official had suggested the firm release its critique of Dr. David Graham. “This evidence makes it look like FDA hung Dr. Graham out to dry,” the senator said. “If so, the message sent to the rank-and-file is, ‘We're not with you, we're with the industry.'”

The Merck executive was named as Dr. Ned Braunstein, Merck Research Labs senior director; and the FDA official as Dr. Brian Harvey, director of the Division of Gastrointestinal and Coagulation Drug Products.

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