Dr. James Cleeman, coordinator of the national Cholesterol Education Program, a division of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, called the omission of financial disclosures an oversight. In response to Newsday's inquiries, he said panelists' pharmaceutical company relationships will be posted on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Web site within the next few days.
Such financial links to drug companies were printed in the Journal of the American Medical Association when the original guidelines were published three years ago. Many of the same panelists returned to produce this week's amendments to the rules, which were published in the journal Circulation, a publication of the American Heart Association. "We now understand, in the current climate, it is wise to make that information [researchers' financial connections] as transparent as possible," Cleeman said. "... There is certainly no intent to obscure information."
Dr. H. Bryan Brewer, a physician-scientist at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, was one of the guidelines' authors. He was the subject of a letter to the director of the National Institutes of Health last week from a consumer watchdog, Public Citizen's Health Research Group. The advocacy organization charged that Brewer had failed to disclose his ties to AstraZeneca. Brewer, according to the letter, had written a glowing report in a medical journal about Crestor without disclosing that he is a paid consultant and had presided over a company-sponsored symposium.