UK Medical Journal Retracts Prozac Claim
Friday, January 28, 2005
Medscape.com

CHICAGO (Reuters) Jan 27 -- The British Medical Journal has retracted its controversial claims about drug maker Eli Lilly and Co, its drug Prozac and a potential link to suicide, Lilly said on Thursday.

The journal caused a stir late last year when it said it had evidence, including "missing documents," suggesting a link between the anti-depressant and suicidal behavior and appearing to show Lilly had knowledge of these "troubling side effects."

The medical journal now says its claim that Lilly let documents go missing was not what its authors intended.

"The BMJ is happy to set the record straight and to apologize to Eli Lilly for this statement, which we now retract, but which we published in good faith," the article says, according to the drugmaker.

Lilly, which has vigorously denied the allegations, said it accepted the journal's apology. Regulators recently ordered drug makers to slap warning labels on all antidepressants about the drugs' potential links to suicidal behavior in children and teens.

Prozac is the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating children, though the labels were demanded for all drug makers.

The safeguards closely follow the recommendations of an FDA advisory panel urging the agency to require prominent warnings. The European Medicines Agency has issued similar warnings.

The medical journal at the time said the article was based on documents provided to it by an anonymous source. It took what some considered an unusual step of sending the documents to the FDA.