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The Newest information on the Vioxx Scandal

October 10th, 2004

By Sal Roach

If you type in the words VIOX and FDA in most search engines these days, you’ll find that attorney pages pop up with alarming regularity as the reports continue to come in about the devastating number of heart attacks and cardiovascular malfunctions caused by the popular muscle relaxant.

Not only does VIOXX, a product of the Merck Company, cause heart attacks, but the FDA has known this information for years.


In the wake Anti Depressant scandal two weeks ago in which studies showed severe depression brought about by popular medications, Merck pulled the VIOXX from the shelves.

Just weeks ago commercials claiming that a pain free life was waiting for you inside a pill were seeping into most American households. Was the American public lied to?

It appears so.

The FDA now believes that VIOXX has caused more than 26,000 heat attacks this year.

In 1999, the FDA approved VIOXX, leaving the public to believe that it was a safe medication when dealing with the reduction of pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis.

It was also believed to alleviate menstrual pain.

Recently, the FDA also issued clearance for VIOXX to be used on children with rheumatoid arthritis.

Who is in control of the nation’s medicine: The Medical community or the Lobbyists. Are they the same people?

The news of VIOXX being harmful is hardly news at all. In June of 2000, Merck gave the FDA information in a study called VIGOR (VIOXX Gastrointestinal Outcomes Research) that revealed elevated risks for heart failures in users of VIOXX.

Perhaps you may have heard that on the commercial when the man is speaking at million miles an hour. MAY CAUSES HEART PROBLEMSˇ¦. LIVER DISORDERS OR SEXUAL MALFUNCTION. If you didn’t hear that, perhaps the small print can let you know all of the side effects that are now coming out.

In April 2002, the labels on VIOXX were changed to show the potential dangers of VIOXX.

So why now, two yeas later, is it a News story?

Because when the news broke earlier that over 20,000 people have suffered heart attacks, it appeared that the FDA knew more than it let on, and the labels were only a stop gap for a bigger problem.

The multi billion dollar drug industry is facing a crucial moment in its history, as even the slickest of advertising campaigns cannot hide the truth that products people believed to be safe are actually potential killers.

Today on Merck’s website, the company had a clip of its volunteering to pull VIOXX of the shelf weeks ago. What they have not answered is why they did not do so when their own study revealed the danger 2 years ago.

Raymond V. Gilmartin, president and chief executive officer of Merck, still seemed optimistic about the effectiveness of his product, despite the fatalities it has caused.

"Although we believe it would have been possible to continue to market VIOXX with labeling that would incorporate these new data, given the availability of alternative therapies, and the questions raised by the data, we concluded that a voluntary withdrawal is the responsible course to take."

This sounds much like the cigarette companies on trial in the 80’s pleading their case that they had no idea their product caused cancer. They somehow got the American Public to accept warning labels as a suitable cure for their side effects.

Let’s hope the drug companies can’t do the same.

Stay informed and research on your own before you put anything in your body. Nobody should know it better than you.

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