Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley has written to the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services seeking an investigation into whether the Food and Drug Administration and Merck collaborated to try and discredit a whistleblower. Dr. David J. Graham, a FDA drug safety official, publicized the risks associated with Merck's painkiller, Vioxx. In his letter, Grassley cited notes by a Merck employee of a conversation with an FDA official who mentioned an "opportunity to get (the) message out" on Graham and distribute the company's critique of him to journalists. In a statement to Associated Press, Merck wrote that it has "right to express our views when we believe information others have presented is not fair and balanced." In a deposition in a class action case against Merck, Graham stated the material obtained under discovery "actually demonstrates more clearly just how widespread the organized campaign to discredit and smear me was."
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