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Friday, May 15, 2009

The Vioxx case - when the side effect is physically noticeable and lethal

I'm reposting it because not everybody knows about Vioxx scandal. I've just realized that Many people are still unaware of Merck's Vioxx lethal side effect.

The Withdrawal of
Vioxx

"In September 2004, Merck announced a voluntary withdrawal of its blockbuster drug Vioxx (a cox2 inhibitor used to treat pain and inflammation) from the market due to concerns of an increased user risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and stroke. As a result, over 6,000 lawsuits were filed in the US and elsewhere by people claiming that they or their family members had suffered heart attacks as a result of taking Vioxx. Subsequently, it was revealed that Merck had known about the risks associated with Vioxx as early as 2000.
Furthermore, the company was accused of manipulating a study in The New England Journal of Medicines, whereby researchers who were sponsored by Merck deliberately erased a table with information about cardiovascular effects before sending it for publication. During the lawsuits two medical professionals testified that they were pressured by Merck not to publish test results that showed increased rates of cardiovascular disease. In early 2005 a study calculated that Vioxx caused between 88.000 and 140.000 cases of heart disease in the US.
In the first US lawsuit, which Merck lost, the jury demanded US$ 229 million in punitive damages. The amount was based on an internal document of Merck that estimated that the company could make US$ 229 million in profits if the publication of warnings on the product could be delayed for four months. Merck did spend about US$ 160 million on marketing for Vioxx annually." p. 11

Source: "Branding the Cure A consumer perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility, Drug Promotion and the Pharmaceutical Industry in Europe"
Published by Consumers International in June 2006.
© Consumers International, June 2006.
This study is available on the site and shows how pharmaceutic industry works. The companies studied included: Abbott, AstraZeneca, Admirall Prodesfarma, Bayer, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson) (J&J), Lilly (Eli), Lundbeck, Menarini, Merck Sharp Dohme, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Nycomed, Orion Pharma,
Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi-Aventi, Schering AG, Schering-Plough and Wyeth.

2 comments:

Anonymous Drifter said...

Years back my husband was prescribed Vioxx but when he started taking it he felt very sick so discontinued it. His doctor was really angry and said he was being non-compliant. It wasn't long after this that it was taken off the market. The whole episode made me very angry.

Ana said...

I will never understand why doctors are no arrogant.
And we can see that it's in many countries.
The first thing I look in a physician now is how s/he listen to ME.
And trust my instincts.
"Yes doc.! I'm a bore."
Thank you for sharing your story.