Over at In the Pipeline, Derek Lowe comments on the fact that slowly but surely, Merck has been getting many of the large Vioxx judgments against it overturned on appeal. Out of 20 that went to court, Merck has won 17. Part of the problem, says Lowe, is that the bad effects (heart attacks) happened to only a few people, compared to the total number who were taking the drug, many of whom didn't need it. If Merck didn't try to market the drug "for everyone in the world with any kind of inflammation pain," Lowe says, it probably wouldn't have noticed the bad side effects in its studies. "Every single drug in the world has bad side effects, from the bottom of the scale (hideous old last-ditch chemotherapy drugs that are one step away from World War One battlefield agents), all the way up to the top. It's just a question of how often they turn up."
A Good Case for Personalized Medicine
Jun 06, 2008