The Senate Finance Committee launched an investigation on July 5 into
whether Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, NJ) made educational grants
to physicians to promote off-label pediatric use of the heartburn medication
cisapride in the 1990s, despite internal company documents raising safety
concerns, the New York Times reported July 6.
Sen Charles E. Grassley (R, Iowa) and Sen Max Baucus (D, Mont) sent
a letter to Johnson & Johnson’s chief executive requesting information
about grant recipients and the amount and purpose of the grants. The letter
also cited a New York Times article that described
how, during the 1990s in the face of growing evidence of heart problems and
deaths related to cisapride, the company helped pay for a physician-written
book recommending cisapride use in children and provided grants to pediatric
gastroenterology organizations that also backed the use of the drug.
Kuehn BM. Off-Label Promotion. JAMA. 2005;294(6):673. doi:10.1001/jama.294.6.673-d