Monday, October 18, 2004


The Washington Post has a good piece on the decision by drug company Merck to take the drug Vioxx off the market. News accounts often try to spin these kind of stories as melodramas, with clear heros and villains, but I thought this article was notable for its attempt to portray the complexity of a difficult issue. Merck is actually portrayed in a favorable light overall. Quote:

Gilmartin was clear that the trial should be halted and that the drug might have to be taken off the market . "Look Peter, we're going to make this decision based on what's in the best interest of science and patient safety," Gilmartin recalled saying. "It's not that we're unaware of the consequences, but it's a deep-seated belief that if you do the right thing, rewards will follow," he said of the decision to pull the drug.

The decision was also sound litigation strategy. The company was already facing two class action lawsuits alleging patient harm from Vioxx. Anything that smacked of a cover-up would have strengthened the plaintiffs' hands.

"Running away from your problems, denial, is the worst possible choice," said Anthony M. Sabino, professor of business law at St. John's University.

The article also notes that experts still don't agree that the drug should be removed from the market. The safety of similar Cox-2 drugs is still in question.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

News, Resources and Information on Vioxx and its site vioxx site vioxx

3:56 PM  

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