GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the drug company, threatened to either sue or ruin the career of a medical researcher who spoke out against its diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone).
The researcher, John Buse, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, discovered the drug increased the risk of cardiovascular disease, but his announcement of the dangers sparked a revenge campaign from GSK.
One strategy was to put pressure on the body that decides on research funding to stop his grants, while one senior GSK executive, Dr Tadataka Yamada, former chairman of research and development, favoured suing Prof Buse or launching a damage-limitation campaign to bolster confidence in Avandia.
Unfortunately for Dr Yamada and GSK, his e-mails leaked out, and now he's being asked to explain himself to a US Senate committee. GSK has defended its actions, but admits that "perhaps we could have handled interactions with Dr Buse better".
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2007; 335: 1113).