Fleishman Fired Over Exaggerated Claims for Drug
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Fleishman Fired Over Exaggerated Claims for Drug

Pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb has hired Fleishman-Hillard Canada after the public relations firm sent reporters an e-mail that contained exaggerated claims about the anti-clotting drug clopidogrel.

Paul Holmes

  TORONTO, August 16—Pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb has hired Fleishman-Hillard Canada after the public relations firm sent reporters an e-mail that contained exaggerated claims about the anti-clotting drug clopidogrel.
 
Fleishman-Hillard Canada senior partner Linda Smith told Reuters the firm had been let go.
 
According to sources inside the agency, a junior staff member sent an e-mail—mischaracterized in the Reuters story as a press release—suggesting that the New England Journal of Medicine and the British medical journal The Lancet had both endorsed clopidogrel. The e-mail also described product as “the biggest cardiovascular treatment advance since aspirin,” a claim that prompted derision from Greg Cufman of the New England Journal.
 
“Give me a break,” Curfman told Reuters. “It has marginal efficacy.”
 
Fleishman promptly issued a retraction. “The second paragraph (of the e-mail) states that the results represent a major advance with huge implications. In fact, the benefit found was modest, and offset by an increased risk of bleeding, including bleeding necessitating transfusion,” the agency said.
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