Merck, the FDA, and the Vioxx Recall
1. Do you believe that Merck acted in a socially responsible and ethical manner with regard to Vioxx? Why or Why not? In your answer, please address the company’s drug development and testing, marketing and advertising, relationships with government regulators and policymakers, and handling of the recall.
I do not believe that Merck made a socially responsible decision when Vioxx was introduced into the pharmaceutical market. Scientists that were involved in product development and testing knew that there were serious health risks that could be side effects of the medication- such as cardiovascular complications. If they considered the lives that could have potentially been and as we know now were affected, the medication could have been revamped with changes that would minimize these harmful side effects. During the development and testing phase for Vioxx – issues regarding the safety of the drug were questioned due to the many cases of heart attacks resulting from the medication (more so than Aleve and Celebrex). The advertising technique that was used was thru direct-to-consumer. This was new in the pharmaceutical industry as it was the first time they were allowed to advertise to consumers. They used an Olympic figure skater as the primary character within their commercials. Consumers then would request this medication, making doctors feel obliged to prescribe. The government and policymakers received large sums of money from the development company during the advertising phase and market introduction. When studies became public of Vioxx users being twice as susceptible to heart attacks, Dr. Kim recommended recalling the drugs due to the elevated risks for users as well as the lack of knowledge as to what was causing the heart attacks. There were mixed emotions for some stating that stronger warning labels should be used and that prescription was to be left for the doctor and patient’s assessment.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document