Pfizer Inc. Retracts Another Paper Over Failed Drug

Published: Dec 17, 2012

For the second time in as many months, Pfizer has retracted a paper about an experimental treatment for lung cancer, which is no longer being developed. Both papers involved the same study and a former Pfizer scientist was listed as a co-author and clinical lead, according to Retraction Watch. “After a thorough review, the corresponding author, Dr. Antonio Gualberto, has concluded that the key results reported in this manuscript are incorrect and cannot be reproduced. As there are no remaining samples that would allow a new analysis, he has therefore recommended the retraction of the manuscript to the Editor-in-Chief of BJC,” reads the notice in the British Journal of Cancer. Last month, the Journal of Clinical Oncology similarly printed a notice concerning the same compound after the drugmaker conducted its own investigation of the findings and discovered a improper analyses. At the time, Pfizer told Retraction Watch that the discovery was made during ‘close-out activities.’ Development ended nearly two years ago after two Phase III trials in non-small-cell lung cancer failed. The retractions are an embarassment for the drugmaker, which took pains to insist that its own staff took the initiative to investigate the discrepancies and report its findings to the journals, according to a statement given to Retraction Watch, which reported the initial retraction last month (read here). Moreover, a Pfizer (PFE) spokesman tells us other papers are likely to be affected. At the time, Pfizer maintained “we conducted a thorough and comprehensive review to determine how this may have occurred, and enlisted the services of independent experts to assist with this review. Our review determined that these errors were the result of inaccurately performed clinical data analyses.

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