In case you thought Canadians were less conflicted:

A University of Toronto publication reports that Dr. Claire Bombardier has just been named to a new rheumatology research chair in the Faculty of Medicine.

Who is Bombardier? She was the lead author of VIGOR. That’s the famous Vioxx study in the New England Journal of Medicine — the one in which the authors removed information describing the number of heart attacks in the Vioxx group two days before publication.  There were 17 heart attacks among Vioxx patients and 4 among patients taking the control drug (old, inexpensive generic naproxen). Merck, the study sponsor, continues to defend itself in court.

But, hey, there’s no need to worry any more about ties between Dr. Bombardier and Merck. Her new position is funded by a $1.5 million grant — from Pfizer. Reference: U Toronto Medicine (March 2008)