Merck Vioxx

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Merck is a pharmaceutical company that we often see on television for their prescription drug ads. They were known for their ability to produce 13 new drugs from 1995 to 2001, of which included the painkiller Vioxx. The drug was supposed to beat out Pfizer’s, Celebrex, and Bextra because it was gentler on the stomach. ( But was that the only thing different Vioxx could do? Vioxx was introduced in 1999. Almost immediately reports started pouring in about patients having complications while taking the drug, such as heart attacks, strokes, and congestive heart failure. ( As the complaints were coming in, Merck continued to defend the drug. The Merck executives met in 2000 to discuss whether or not to look into the issues that were coming back. After a substantial meeting, they came to the conclusion that they weren’t going to do the study. They were going to keep a close eye on the clinical studies which were being conducted at the time. ( By May of 2003, the heart attack risk of patients taking Vioxx rose to 20%, by November, 40%, by February of 2004, 80% and by September, 120%. ( Merck’s chief research doctor received word from the safety committee that they wanted to put a halt on the trials of the drug. On September 28, 2004, it was decided by the executives that the drug would be pulled off the shelves. ( Merck couldn’t see from the beginning that this would turn into an adventure that would end up costing them around $4.85 billion. When they first were entering the early stages of lawsuits, it was predicted by some analysts that this could cost Merck up to $30 billion. After the money was distributed, patients and families were estimated to receive around $70,000 each. ( Another setback from Merck neglecting to look into this massive accident was their stocks. They took quite a low blow as well. Suspicions started to run wide throughout...
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