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The $5.3 million study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries supplied the inhaled steroid medicine and Boehringer Ingelheim provided Spiriva. Both companies also donated matching placebos. Researchers bought Glaxo's Serevent.
Glaxo declined to participate because Spiriva is not approved for treating asthma. The company also "lacked adequate information in this case to understand what the impact would be on patients in the trial," said company spokeswoman Mary Anne Rhyne.
The study's leader, Dr. Stephen Peters of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, said that since his team did not have access to Glaxo's drug, they bought it from a third-party supplier and hired another company to make the placebo -- at a cost of $900,000.
Peters said it's harder to get drug companies to donate their medicine for research compared with a decade ago.
"Now more drug companies are more likely to ponder whether a trial could help them in the marketplace" and decline to provide their products for studies, Peter said.
Peters has received lecture fees from Teva. Several other researchers on the team reported ties with Glaxo and other drug companies.
The New England Journal of Medicine: http://www.nejm.org/
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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