A Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Employee & Worries Over Its Diabetes Drug

Published: Mar 06, 2013

File this under ‘how to make a splash on the new job.’ In a curious footnote to a controversial study that was published last week about the risks of a pair of diabetes drugs, an accompanying editorial that also expressed concerns was co-authored by a researcher who was recently hired as a medical science manager by Bristol-Myers Squibb, which also sells one of the medicines featured in the study. As we reported, the study indicates that Byetta, which is sold by Bristol-Myers, and Januiva, the widely used Merck medication, can double the risk of developing pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas that is linked to cancer and kidney failure (here is the abstract). This issue has plagued both drugs over the past few years, although the findings were quickly denounced by the drugmakers, Wall Street analysts and professional physician groups. Meanwhile, a two-page commentary also raised questions about the wisdom of using the drugs, which increase GLP-1, a hormone that stimulates insulin production from the pancreas. One of the two authors, however, was Belinda Gier, who was hired on February 1 as a medical science manager at Bristol (BMY). This detail, though, was not listed initially. Instead, her employment was updated yesterday, a change first noted by Retraction Watch. At first, her only affiliation was listed as the Larry Hillblom Islet Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, and David Geffen School of Medicine. But an ‘editor’s note’ says, “at the time this commentary was solicited, submitted, reviewed, and accepted for publication, the editors were unaware that Dr. Gier had any pending affiliation with Bristol-Myers Squibb.”

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