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Medical expert says Glaxo threatened legal action when he questioned drug's safety

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CAPITOL HILL (AP) -- A medical expert says the maker of the diabetes drug Avandia threatened him with legal action when he first raised questions about the drug's safety.

According to prepared testimony, Doctor John Buse says he was contacted by Glaxo in 1999 after drawing attention to a trend of heart problems among patients using Avandia. Buse is head of endocrinology at the University of North Carolina and is set to become president of the American Diabetes Association.

Buse says Glaxo representatives mentioned that some in the company wanted to hold him accountable for hurting sales of the drug.

The hearing comes after an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded Avandia could raise patients' risk of heart attack by more than 40 percent.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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