Vioxx and Merck & Co. Essay

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The painkiller Vioxx was introduced in 1999 by Merck & Co. It has been used by over 20 million Americans since it was put on the market. Vioxx remained on the market for approximately five years without adequate warnings about its risks. In September of 2004, Merck took Vioxx off the market after a study revealed that it doubled the risk of heart attack or stroke for patients that used it for more than 18 months. Although Merck claimed that they had no idea of these possibly lethal side effects, some internal documents imply that they had been aware of the problem for years and had not made moves to change it. Over 300 lawsuits have been filed against Merck, and it is expected that thousands more will arise.
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Without their votes, the committee would have voted that Vioxx should not return to the market.
     Personally, I was shocked by the Merck/Vioxx situation. I could not believe that something that was basically proven to cause heart attacks and strokes was permitted to be put on the market in the first place, and the fact that it may be brought back is horrible. I believe that things are being handled terribly. Since so many of the members of the committee are financially connected with Merck & Co., they would obviously vote in a way that would support the company, and in turn, benefit themselves. It seems that the value of the well being of the patients that use this medication is being neglected while the Merck and its associates simply look out for themselves.
     I do not believe that Vioxx should be put back on the market. For one thing, it has already become clear how detrimental its side effects can be. Another reason is that allowing this drug to be put back on the market will only discourage efforts made to create drugs that will be just as effective but without the negative side effects. I also disagree with the statement made by the committee, which basically said that it was acceptable to disburse this drug as long as it had a warning and that a person should be able to
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