Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Merck Hid Vioxx Dangers

Merck suppressed documents that Vioxx could harm patients, according to a recent report. What a surprise.

JAMA writers claim that Merck failed to disclose an internal analysis that found Alzheimer's patients taking Vioxx had a three times greater risk of death than patients taking a placebo.

The most damning charge? "If these findings had been reported publicly in April of 2001, it is likely that many fewer patients would have chosen to use Vioxx and probably many fewer would have been injured,"

A separate analysis suggests Merck recruited academic researchers to lend their names and credibility to company-written studies used to give evidence of the drug's safety and effectiveness.

Merck Response:

"Generally, these allegations, we believe, are not true," said Kent Jarrell, a crisis management expert and spokesman for the law firm representing Merck in litigation over Vioxx. Notice the lawyer speak - "generally."

The source is here.

JAMA online is here. It's free.

You can find the documents here.