11.14.2004

Vioxx coming to a law office near you

So The NYT have basically eviscerated Merck for its handling of the whole Vioxx episode. It wasn't a demonoization, but the tone to me clearly implied that MErck should have known better. I feel sorry for all the people that took that drug and suffered negative consequences. But I am unsure were my anger should be directed. The logical target would be Merck, but that is like blaming all the Jews for the death of Jesus (NOTE: I am an atheist that doesn’t believe…). Merck collectively didn’t do this.

Consider that the increase in heart attacks is roughly double when taking Vioxx over a placebo. That sounds huge but think about that they mean. In a study of 1000 people 7.5 would get heart attacks anyway regardless of what drug they were taking. How many people taking vioxx would have heart attacks? 15. Sucks for those 7.5 people that wouldn’t have gotten heart attacks anyway, but does this really qualify as a valid reason to destroy Merck? Even it’s critics seem to concede that the data is somewhat murky.

To be continued…