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Firm guilty of over-hyping ASCOT trial

GPs were sent 'extremely misleading' and 'inaccurate' marketing material on the ASCOT trial, the pharmaceutical industry watchdog has ruled.

The Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority upheld several separate complaints against Servier ­ which produces perindopril (Coversyl) ­ after finding claims it made in a booklet on ASCOT could not be substantiated.

The booklet circulated to GPs claimed the amlodipine/perin-dopril arm had 'superior benefits' to atenolol and thiazide in reducing risk of deaths, strokes and heart attacks consistently across all major predefined endpoints and subgroups.

But the authority ruled this information was 'inaccurate' and 'could not be substantiated' as the primary endpoint of non-fatal heart attack and fatal CHD was not significantly different between arms.

The booklet also wrongly claimed blood pressure was reduced by 27/17mmHg in both treatment arms when the reduction was actually significantly greater in the amlodipine/perindopril arm.

Dr John Ashcroft, CHD lead for Erewash PCT and a GP in Tibshelf, Derbyshire, said: 'There was lots of spin with the way [ASCOT] was published.'

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