The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will let Dr. David Graham, an FDA official who has criticized his employer, publish a study that links Merck & Co.’s (MRK) Vioxx pain treatment with heart attacks, the official’s attorney said.
The FDA told Graham on Monday that he had permission to publish his research, which found that 88,000 to 139,000 people have had heart attacks that may be linked to Vioxx, with 30% to 40% of them fatal, his attorney, told Dow Jones Newswires.
The report has been submitted to British medical journal Lancet. The Financial Times reported earlier that the Lancet will probably publish Graham’s research.
Graham has sharply criticized his employer, telling a congressional hearing in November that the FDA discounts recommendations from its own safety researchers.
Graham didn’t immediately return a phone call for comment. An FDA spokeswoman couldn’t immediately be reached. The Lancet’s U.K. offices are closed for the holidays.
Merck is “not going to comment on an article that’s not published,” company spokeswoman Anita Larsen said.