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Merck and Vioxx

By | March 2007
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Merck and Vioxx

Merck researched and developed a drug that they called Rofecoxib; the brand names are Vioxx, Ceoxx and Ceeoxx. Rofecoxib belongs to a group of NSAID drugs used for osteoporis, dysmenorreoria,acute pain, and musculoskeletal problems . Rofecoxib is not the only NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) on the market, we have Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Asprin, some of which are available over the counter (OTC), which means you do not have to have a physician's prescription to purchase. For the purpose of this paper we will hereafter refer to the drug as Vioxx. Merck started marketing Vioxx in May of 1999; in 2000 a study was published in the Journal called VIGOR (Vioxx Gastrointestinal Outcomes Research study), which showed that Vioxx was associated with fewer gastrointestinal complications then the other NSAIDs on the market. But it also showed that patients who were given Vioxx had four times as many heart attacks then the other NSAIDs. Merck also instructed their sales people when asked about the VIGOR study to point out the gastrointestinal benefits but to refuse to comment on the rest of it. Since physicians get most of their information concerning a drug from the company that markets it, most kept prescribing the drug. Because Merck went ahead kept marketing Vioxx, several patients have died of myocardial infarctions caused by the taking of the drug. Was this an acceptable number? As we know, no drug is fail-safe, there are going to be a limited number of patients that cannot tolerate a drug and sometimes, unfortunately they die from taking the drug. Last year alone, Merck reported sales in excess of $2.5 Billion from Vioxx, no small potatoes. Did Merck do what Ford did with the Pinto car back in 1978 and do a cost-analysis of going ahead and marketing a defective drug because it would cost them less to settle the law suits then to dump the drug or try to fix the problem? Raymond Gilmartin is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of...

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