, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 1-6
Date: 16 Dec 2005

Troglitazone: the lesson that nobody learned?

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Morlocks and Eloi

H. G. Wells once wrote a story about a man who travelled in time to a future world. There he encountered members of a beautiful race called the Eloi, who lived carefree lives of sylvan innocence on the surface of the planet, and tried hard to ignore the existence of the Morlocks, an ugly race that lived out of sight under the ground and preyed upon the Eloi for food and slaves. It would of course be too extreme to suggest that this might be taken as a parable of the relationship between the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry, but there can be no doubt that there are things the medical Eloi prefer not to know, and that the pharmaceutical Morlocks choose not to talk about. The troglitazone story is among them.

In 1997, Audrey LaRue Jones volunteered to take part in a major diabetes prevention trial, sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), which was one of the most ambitious clinical studies ever launched [