Tomislav Smoljanović

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Tomislav Smoljanović
Personal information
Born (1977-07-15) 15 July 1977 (age 39)[1]
Split, Croatia[1]
Residence Zagreb
Alma mater School of Medicine, University of Zagreb
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)[1]
Weight 90 kg (200 lb)[1]
Country Croatia
Sport Men's rowing
Event(s) Eights
Club HVK Gusar[1]
HAVK Mladost[2]
Retired 2003[3]

Tomislav Smoljanović (born 15 July 1977) is a Croatian medical scientist, physician, and a retired rower.

Smoljanović won bronze at the 2000 Summer Olympics and silver at the 2001 World Championships as a member of the national eights team. As a physician, he gained public prominence in 2011 for his research that uncovered the harmful side effects of bone morphogenetic protein 2 therapy.

Sports career[edit]

Smoljanović was born in Split in 1977. He took up rowing in 1989, but had to leave it due to bad grades in school, and returned to the sport only in 1993. Since 1994, as a member of HVK Gusar rowing club, he competed in the coxed pairs with Damir Vučičić, winning world junior silver medal in 1995. In 1998 Smoljanović won silver in the coxed fours in the World University Rowing Championships, teamed with Vučičić, Nikša Skelin and Oliver Martinov.[1] Smoljanović moved from HVK Gusar to Zagreb-based HAVK Mladost rowing club in 1999, after enrolling in the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb.[2]

Smoljanović won a bronze medal in the eights competition at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. His teammates were Igor Boraska, Nikša Skelin, Siniša Skelin, Branimir Vujević, Krešimir Čuljak, Tihomir Franković and Igor Francetić, with Silvijo Petriško as coxswain.[4] In the 2001 World Rowing Championships in Lucerne, Smoljanović was a member of a slightly changed national eights team – with Oliver Martinov and Damir Vučičić instead of Franković and Francetić – which won a silver medal.[5]

Smoljanović retired from competitive rowing in 2003.[3]

Scientific career[edit]

After earning his M.D. degree in 2002,[6] Smoljanović worked as a physician at the Department of Orthopaedics of the University Hospital Centre in Zagreb.[7] In 2006, while examining the available literature on bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2), used to stimulate bone growth in spinal fusion procedures, Smoljanović and his colleagues discovered that BMP-2 therapy had major side effects that were being ignored by most studies.[8][9] The most serious complication was retrograde ejaculation, which caused temporary or even permanent sterility in men.[3][8] Smoljanović started to write letters to editors of medical journals, pointing to deficiencies in papers on the BMP-2 therapy, but both the letters and Smoljanović's review article on the topic were rejected for publication.[10] Nevertheless, he remained unconvinced, feeling that his concerns were not met with valid counterarguments.[10] After finding out that most editorial boards of rejecting journals had at least one member with financial ties to Medtronic, a major producer of BMP-2-based products,[10][11] Smoljanović and his colleagues took the "guerrilla science approach",[12] writing more than 35 letters to medical journals.[8]

Smoljanović's complaints finally caught the attention of Stanford researchers,[8] whose 2011 study ultimately found that the incidence of harmful side effects was 10 to 50 times higher than previously reported, and criticized the earlier industry-sponsored studies for "biased and corrupted research".[13] In 2011, the US Senate and Department of Justice started investigations of Medtronic over the omissions of safety problems from clinical trials data.[14]

Smoljanović currently works as an assistant professor at the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb and is a member of FISA Sports Medicine Commission.[15] In 2013, the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport named him among top twenty junior researchers in the country.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Smoljanović Tomislav". (in Croatian). HVK Gusar. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "dr. sc. Tomislav Smoljanović". (in Croatian). HAVK Mladost. 26 December 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Hrvatska znanstvena gerila razotkrila američke farmaceute". (in Croatian). Hrvatski Telekom. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Rowing results for the 2000 Summer Olympics". Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "(M8+) Men's Eight – Final". International Rowing Federation. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "Životopisi znanstvenih novaka" (PDF). (in Croatian). Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  7. ^ Glavina, Diana (26 May 2011). "Hrvat otkrio da američki lijek izaziva sterilnost muškaraca". Večernji list (in Croatian). Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d Meier, Barry; Wilson, Duff (25 May 2011). "New Study Links Spine Product From Medtronic to Risk of Sterility in Men". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  9. ^ Zenić, Divna (26 May 2013). "Splićanin razotkrio štetne posljedice lijeka i spregu između farmaceuta i znanstvenika". Slobodna Dalmacija (in Croatian). Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c Ciboci, Snježana (10 July 2011). "Skandal težak 62 milijuna dolara: Ovi doktori iz Zagreba razotkrili su najveću medicinsku aferu u povijesti!". Jutarnji list (in Croatian). Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  11. ^ Glavina, Diana (7 October 2011). "Hrvatski liječnik natjerao Senat SAD-a da istraži farmaceutsku korporaciju". Forum (in Croatian) (4). Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  12. ^ Fauber, John (25 May 2011). "Croatian Guerrilla Science Pierces Orthopedic Old Guard". MedPage Today. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  13. ^ Richter, Ruthann (28 June 2011). "Common spinal fusion product shown to be harmful in bold review by medical journal and its Stanford editors". Stanford University School of Medicine. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Medtronic, after panel investigation, won't pursue Infuse claims". Reuters. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "Sports Medicine Commission". International Rowing Federation. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "Ministar Jovanović predstavio 20 najizvrsnijih znanstvenih novaka". (in Croatian). Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 

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