Bayer and its lawyers will doubtless be watching the investigative US television programme 60 Minutes on Sunday which will include the claim from a researcher that the lives of 22,000 patients could have been saved if the Food and Drug Administration had removed the firm’s blood loss agent Trasylol from the market two years ago.

The makers of the programme, CBS, have released some extracts from the programme which include claims by researcher Dennis Mangano that Bayer placed the drug's success before patient well-being. The company voluntarily suspended sales of Trasylol (aprotinin), used to limit bleeding in heart surgery, after a Canadian study was stopped because of patient deaths.

Dr Mangano was the author of a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association in January 2006, which associated the drug's use with kidney failure requiring dialysis and increased death of those patients. Between the study’s publication and November 2007, when Bayer pulled the drug, "there were approximately 431,000 patients who received the drug," he says. "As I calculated, 22,000 lives could have been saved. It’s about a 1,000 lives per month," Dr Mangano tells 60 Minutes.

In September 2006, Dr Mangano presented his study of 5,065 patients in 17 countries to the Food and Drug Administration but argues that Bayer failed to disclose the existence of one of its own studies that corresponded with his findings.

In August last year, Bayer revealed the findings of an independent lawyer’s investigation into the company’s failure to disclose data about the risks of Trasylol, which concluded that no cover-up was involved. In October 2006, Bayer acknowledged that it failed to keep the FDA informed of data that could have had a bearing on the outcome of an advisory panel meeting looking at the safety of Trasylol.

CBS says that neither Bayer nor the FDA would speak to 60 Minutes but the Leverkusen-based firm sent the programme makers a letter saying that “the available data continue to support a favorable risk-benefit profile for Trasylol when used according to labelling”.