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Glaxo, Merck, SGP & Amgen: Readers Have a Lot to Say

Friday, 1 Feb 2008 | 10:51 AM ET

It's a new month. Time to clean out the inbox. Regarding my post earlier this week about Sen. Chuck Grassley's office breaking the"Nature" embargo on the leak of the GlaxoSmithKline Avandia study, I heard from the "Nature" article reporter.

Brian Vastag says:
"Yes, Nature lifted the embargo early, but Sen. Grassley did not break it. If you read his letter carefully , you'd notice his investigators had the info on Haffner (the admitted leaker) months ago. Also, a U.S. Senator is not beholden to Nature's embargoes."

Hmmm.

I also heard from the editor of "TheHeart.Org" whose publication was cited in a "New York Times" article with the "sexy" quote from Haffner about medical journals being one step away from turning into "Playboy" (I'm paraphrasing). Larry Husten writes: "I think you might want to consider the idea that Nature's story was based on information that Grassley's office had been developing for a long time, so it can hardly be said that Grassley's office broke the embargo. It was their story to begin with."

And I continue to receive emails on the raging controversy over the ENHANCE study questioning the efficacy of Vytorin/Zetia from Merck and Schering-Plough .

Dr. William Vine writes:
"I would hope that you and others would properly explain the science to those who want to understand as well as allay fears of those who may stop taking their necessary medication."

And from William Sheehan, a retired M.D., who says he's been taking a statin for 20 years: "I don't know what all the fuss is about...really!! I question the validity of (the) study....There are just too many variables....Importantly Vytorin does seem to lower the (bad) cholesterol dramatically in many patients and quite possibly do more so than Lipitor."

I'm guessing Pfizer would argue that point.

And one blog reader misconstrued my mention the other day that Associated Press was reporting that Sen. John McCain is taking Vytorin.

Bonnie Tharp, who identifies herself as "a longtime (CNBC) viewer from Alaska, says: "As long as you're slinging mud, how about Obama or Clinton, do they take drugs too or haven't you been in their medicine cabinets yet?"

I was only throwing in the tidbit because Vytorin is in the headlines and I think it would be interesting to find out from Sen. McCain whether he's concerned about the ENHANCE study, whether he's talked to his doctor about it, whether he's still on it, etc. Taking a statin is not a reflection on one's good or bad health. I take 10mg a day of Pfizer's Lipitor. I consider myself to be in pretty good shape, exercise regularly, and try to do my "weaknesses" in moderation (dark chocolate, red wine, etc.).

High cholesterol, I suspect, is in my genes.

Recently,I blogged that readers were nearly unanimous in their opinionthat I crossed the line over Amgen's earnings. Since then, however, a few people have come to my defense.

An anonymous viewer who emails CNBC a lot says: "YOU DA MAN. Stand up to Amgen. Below $4.30 is a miss, even if it's only a penny. If a company said close to the low end of range (of) $4.30-$4.50, I would expect $4.30-$4.37 and would expect $4.30 as the MINIMUM needed to MEET."

And Dale Park writes: "I find your reporting (on Amgen) to be right on target. Love your battles with Genentech. Keep telling it like it is."

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com

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