Monday, November 12, 2007

Merck - Vioxx: from dodgeball to hardball

Some "pundit" quotes:

Dr. Eric Topol, cardiologist and co-author of a paper in The Journal of the American Medical Association warning of the risks of Vioxx:

“I think they’ve gotten off quite easily, frankly, for the problems that they’ve engendered.”


Ragnar Lofstedt, a risk expert at King’s College London, says: “We live in a post-Cox-2 [Vioxx] world and suddenly people don’t trust the FDA.

“Everyone has to work on a proactive risk-communication stategy and become more attuned to the public perception.”


Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen's Health Research Group pointed out that Merck's stock price rose after the deal was announced, hardly a penalty for the company.

"When the stock of a company goes up after a settlement, it is hardly to be confused with stiff punishment for a company," Wolfe said.

"Given what Merck knew, how it misled doctors and others, I don't think this company has been adequately punished for what it did."


"It's actually a good settlement for Merck," said Benjamin Zipursky, a Fordham Law School professor who studies product liability.

Although the company has been hit with several multimillion-dollar verdicts, Merck won in 12 of the 17 trials to date and has yet to pay out anything while appealing its losses.

"Playing hardball can be a very smart idea sometimes," Zipursky said.

LA Times

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