Dr. David Graham

After Food and Drug Administration (FDA) researcher, Dr. David Graham, conducted a study which showed that the painkiller Vioxx had caused 88,000 to 139,000 heart attacks with a 30 to 40 percent fatality rate, the FDA attempted to suppress his findings. Graham was able to present the preliminary results of his study at a conference, but his supervisors privately criticized him for trying to hurt Merck, the pharmaceutical corporation that created Vioxx. They dismissed Graham’s study as “junk science” and “scientific rumor” and attempted to prevent him from publishing the results.

When Graham learned that his study was going to be swept under the rug, he came to Government Accountability Project for help. With our support, Graham testified before Congress where he identified the FDA’s handling of Vioxx as the worst public health disaster in its history, resulting in a probable 30,000-55,000 deaths. His disclosures not only resulted in Merck pulling Vioxx off the shelves, but also exposed the FDA’s bias towards pharmaceutical industry interests. Drawing from his own experiences as a whistleblower, Graham has become an active champion of scientific freedom and a model for other federal workers.

“Most government employees don’t have Senator Grassley, the media and [Government Accountability Project] to defend their professional lives. Most government workers remain silent when there’s no credible right to defend themselves. Federal workers don’t have free speech rights like Congress created in the Sarbanes Oxley law after Enron, MCI and similar scandals. It’s as important for Federal whistleblowers to have reliable rights when defending American families’ health or lives, as for corporate workers when defending America’s stocks and pension funds.” ~ Dr. David Graham