The reason I care, as so many other chiropractors do, are because of cases like this.
An Australian court just ruled against Merck & Co. finding that the use of Vioxx doubled the risk of heart attack in its users.
“I have concluded that, across a population, the consumption of Vioxx about doubled the risk of heart attack,” Jessup wrote in his opinion. “I have held that because Vioxx involved about a doubling of the risk of heart attack, it was not reasonably fit for the purpose of being used for the relief of arthritic pain.”
Merck has already agreed to pay a $4.85 billion settlement to resolve about 50,000 lawsuits in the U.S.
What I sarcastically like best is that this article only showed up in the Finance section, and is not headline news, or even in the health area of common news sites. Just finance.
This is a prime example that each chiropractor I know speaks to their patients, friends and families about. A “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul” scenario, where the short term consequence of this pain killer leads to early death, or just a heart attack.
Here comes the BEST part. Merck’s response:
Merck said the evidence showed the company acted responsibly by carefully monitoring the drug and voluntarily taking it off the market.
Yes, they are attempting to take credit for acting responsibly for choosing not to continuing profiting from a heart attack doubling pain killer. What great volunteers they are.
Merck agreed to pay $US4.85 billion to settle with nearly 50,000 people around the US, concluding the bulk of cases against it there. But it did not admit fault.
At its height, Vioxx was used by by 80 million people and had global sales of $US2.5 billion a year.
It was hailed as a wonder drug, treating the pain of arthritis sufferers’ swollen joints without the gastrointestinal difficulties of other drugs.
So, Merck takes no responsibility and pays back a couple of years of profit to the people they damaged. How very generous. No word yet if they will blame their spokesperson for Vioxx, Dorothy Hamill. At the very least she should issue an apology.