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Dendreon And Provenge: Not A Word At Congressional Hearing

CNBC.com

"Dendreonians" were hoping the Provenge controversy might come up for discussion at the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing today.

I was half-expecting Provenge proponents to disrupt the proceeding. But neither happened. I watched it on a monitor here at my desk at CNBC HQ in New Jersey on what's called a "pool feed" from the hearing room.

There was a lot of the typical jawboning and grandstanding by committee members as they reacted to the new Government Accountability Office report on the state of the Food and Drug Administration and went off on quite a few tangents as well. We had to wait until the very end for the testimony of Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach. Most of his testimony dealt with the woefully inadequate information technology infrastructure at the agency.

Dr. von Eschenbach testified that when he arrived at the FDA in 2006 the computer equipment, on average, was eight years old and operating at 30 percent efficiency. He said it will take another two years to get the whole system up to date. "The work has begun, but the work is not finished. We have much that needs to be done, " he testified in his opening statement. Under questioning by Chairman John Dingell, the Commissioner also acknowledged that "there needs to be better backup" of clinical trial data on the agency's servers.

I have received no update from the Committee spokesperson regarding if or when a decision will be made about whether to hold a hearing and/or launch an investigation into the Dendreon matter. I get a lot of emails from readers asking for updates, but I'm confining my reporting about it to platforms where I can control it--on this blog and on CNBC TV.

On occasion, I've noticed my replies to reader emails or "excerpts" from them get posted on investor message boards where they have been taken out of context or twisted around. And some stuff comes out of thin air. Today, for example, there's a header on one Dendreon message board, "Huckman Partnership Annoucement (sic) !"

Apparently, there's another rumor out there about DNDN doing a deal. I have no reporting on that. I hope that investors don't make trading decisions based on some of the stuff perpetuated in some corners of the web.

If or when I have news on Dendreon or any other company I cover, you'll find it here, on CNBC.com, on CNBC or other NBC platforms. Not on a message board.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com

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