Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vioxx: Another Article (Annals of Internal Med.) Critical of Merck

Did Merck "endanger" patients in 1999 when it disguised a marketing program as a scientific trial of its now-withdrawn painkiller Vioxx? That is what is claimed in an an article and editorial to be published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

From the Philadelphia Enquirer:

"The editors of the Annals of Internal Medicine, which is based in Center City, said the journal's findings may point to a broader problem in the pharmaceutical industry. Drug companies have long been suspected of enlisting doctors in trials solely to get doctors in the "habit of prescribing a new drug," the editors said in what they described as an unusual, if not unprecedented, editorial. These are known as "seeding" trials."

What is particularly noteworthy in the editorial is this comment: "The documents do tell us that deception is the key to a successful seeding trial." Link.

The editorial says "seeding trials" pay doctors involved in them to consult with the drug company plus a fee for each patient they enroll.

For more go here.