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Manufacturer Knew Vioxx Was Bad

November 25. 2009

In distressing news, it appears the manufacturer for the now recalled drug, Vioxx, knew it was harmful years before they pulled it from the market. Vioxx was giving consumers heart attacks and strokes, but because it was generating billions in yearly revenues, the manufacturer did not recall it.

Sometimes when manufacturers put products on the market, even after extensive testing, they really do not know of the product's possibly hidden defects. But it is quite another thing putting or continuing to put harmful pharmaceuticals on the market, knowing full well, trials revealed potentially terrible side effects. A decision was made to put profits ahead of public health.


"Off Label Use"

Good And Bad Pharmaceutical Drugs

When Did Merck Know Vioxx Was Deadly?

Study Finds Danger Signal in Early Merck Data; Merck Says Study Flawed

Nov. 23, 2009 - Merck should have known Vioxx was deadly years before they pulled the drug from the market, a study of Merck's own data suggests.

The study, published in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, is by Joseph S. Ross, MD, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and colleagues. The study authors were paid consultants to plaintiffs' lawyers in Vioxx lawsuits -- in which much of the Merck data first was revealed.

"By our analyses, the association is clear that by June 2001 -- more than three years before the drug was eventually taken off the market -- the risk could have been known," Ross tells WebMD.

Merck took Vioxx off the market in November 2004, after the "APPROVe" study conclusively demonstrated that Vioxx users had more heart attacks and strokes than patients receiving a placebo...


Vioxx side effects could have been identified years earlier, researchers say

Tuesday 24 November 2009 00.00 GMT - The risks of Vioxx, a painkiller that can increase the chance of heart attacks and strokes, could have been identified several years before the drug was finally withdrawn in 2004, researchers have said. If all the information from clinical trials had been analysed on an ongoing basis, the risks would have been obvious three years sooner, potentially saving thousands of people from life-threatening side effects...

Rofecoxib (Vioxx is the brand name) was a blockbuster drug. An anti-inflammatory painkiller, developed by Merck, it was designed to irritate the stomach less than older drugs in its class, cutting the risk of potentially serious problems such as internal bleeding. Vioxx was used especially to treat painful arthritis. Its annual sales grew to over $2 billion (1.2 billion). In 2003, more than 2 million prescriptions for Vioxx were dispensed in England alone.

All that changed in September 2004, when Merck voluntarily pulled Vioxx from the market. A large trial had been stopped early when it became obvious that people taking Vioxx were suffering more heart attacks and strokes...





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