Questions 1 through 7
1. On balance, do you think Merck is an ethical and socially responsible company? Why or why not? How about Pfizer?
In my opinion, Merck is not an ethical and socially responsible company with introducing Vioxx into pharmaceutical market. Before the Vioxx approval by FDA, scientists from University of Pennsylvania found that the drug could bring some serious results such as cardiovascular, and there were many serious cardiovascular problems during testing on patients. However, Merck ignored these negative effects, kept developing Vioxx was order to get ample profits. At the same time , through “Direct-to-consumer advertising”, Merck made customers believe Vioxx that was safer and more effective than other same products. So, I do not think Merck is an ethical and socially responsible company. Pfizer is not an ethical and socially responsible company. Pfizer refused to take Celebrex off the market when Vioxx had been recalled, even Celebrex had same problems with Vioxx. Prizer wanted to take this chance from big trouble in Vioxx to occupy more market share despite Celebrex can be result in health-attack risks.
2. How could the disaster with Vioxx have been avoided in the first place? First of all, in my opinion, Merck should listen carefully to suggestions from scientists who are from university of Pennsylvania, which is that Vioxx would lead to heart attacks and strokes. At that time, Merck should be aware of risk of health for people, and redevelop Vioxx. Moreover, as local government, they should control and monitor pharmaceutical advertising, avoid customers being tricked through fake data from this kind of pharmaceutical advertising.
3. What is your opinion of pharmaceutical advertising?
Firstly, this kind of pharmaceutical advertising in terms of direct-to-customer can improve patient awareness to drugs. For instance, a person with disease does not know that there are some drugs that can cover and reduce pain, however, they could watch TV advertisement to know these drugs. This kinds of Ad not only bring more profits for pharmaceutical companies, but also make people increase health awareness. However, there are some disadvantages about DTC. Most of DTC advertising hide risks from drugs, only 26% of the ads mentioned risks or causes of the condition. Besides, some ads overemphasize drug benefits to patient. According to Journal of Health Communication (2009), the average DTC spend too much time on descripting benefits than risks. Therefore, in my opinion, DTC is not the best way to propagate drugs. Relative departments need to monitor the effectiveness of drugs based on relative advertising, and tell customers what are the right drugs and what is the wrong things.
4. Discuss the idea of relative risk. What is the significance of it for the drug firm itself, for the FDA, for tort lawyers, and for the consumer? Drugs always have side effects which are positive and negative. Product Vioxx is painkiller. Many patients are taking benefits from this product; even though it raises the risk of heart attacks. For drug firm, the relative risk might cause them in lawsuits. It would destroy their reputation in the market. On the other hand, if the drug firm takes the relative risk reasonably, they mention the risk for their customers before they take the product. It might reduce the lawsuits for the firm itself, but it would also cut many sales from the market.
For the FDA, it is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments. The FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health. This department’s job is to protect the customers’ benefits from food and drugs. However, in this case, FDA says it wasn’t currently planning to seek new regulatory authority for the ability to suspend the drug safety issues. And it would require changes in the law. Therefore, they should set an...