Drug maker sought sales increase despite evidence

DALLAS (AP) — Despite growing evidence that a link existed between the diet drugs fen-phen and fatal lung disease and heart damage, a maker of one of the drugs lobbied the government to relax limits on its use, The Dallas Morning News reported Monday.
Internal company memos in 1996 indicated that American Home Products knew of illnesses and deaths from the rare lung disease among users of Pondimin, which was part of the fen-phen diet-drug combination, the report said.
In 1997 the company received researchers’ reports of leaky heart valves among fen-phen users, according to the newspaper.
At the same time, the newspaper reported, the Madison, N.J.-based company and its pharmaceutical division, Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, lobbied members of Congress and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to ease restrictions on use of Pondimin and Redux.
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