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A congressional committee has broadened its probe of the delay by drug makers Schering-Plough in releasing study data about their cholesterol drug Vytorin, saying Internet postings indicate they knew the results long before releasing them.
The controversial study found Vytorin wasn't as effective as advertised. The fallout has hammered the stocks of both companies,cut sales of Vytorin, triggered numerous potential class-action lawsuits, and raised questions about the drug makers' honesty.
In the latest development,the House Committee on Energy and Commerce has demanded documents from the chief executives of both drug makers, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, and the webmaster for a site called Cafepharma Inc.
On the site, anonymous postings by pharmaceutical sales representatives indicate some reps knew about the study's results by March 2007. "These Web site entries are obviously troubling and raise further questions," committee letters to the officials state.
The Vytorin study, called ENHANCE, was completed in April 2006, but the companies didn't release partial results until Jan. 14, 2008, five weeks after the committee began investigating the delay.