Dr. Rath Health Foundation

Dr. Rath Health Foundation

Responsibility for a healthy world Dr. Rath Research Institute 100+ Studies Published In PubMed

Forbes Magazine Special About
The Vioxx Debacle

Merck's recall of its popular painkiller Vioxx after a big study found it increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes could set off the next big class-action feeding frenzy.

Merck's Legal Nightmare
Virtually every time a drug has been recalled because of side-effect problems in recent years, the companies have faced legal liability. The question for Merck and its investors now is, How big will its legal bill be? The answer is unknown but could potentially be huge, because Vioxx was a popular drug used by millions of consumers. Overall, 84 million people worldwide have taken Vioxx worldwide since it was approved in 1999.
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Merck's Missing Vioxx Study
Should Merck have conducted a bigger trial to test the safety of its arthritis drug Vioxx? Merck pulled Vioxx from the market two weeks ago, but questions about the heart safety of the drug date back years, to an August 2001 paper in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
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Behind Merck's Fall
On Sept. 24, John Baron, a professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, called Merck to say a safety committee he headed had decided to halt a three-year study testing the arthritis treatment Vioxx as a cancer preventative. The results on preventing colon polyps, the aim of the study, aren't in. But in the 2,600 patient trial, patients taking Vioxx were twice as likely to have heart attacks and strokes as those on a sugar pill. The next morning, Merck executives got their first look at those results. "I was stunned by the data," says Peter Kim, Merck's research chief.
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Merck Disaster Bad For All Drugmakers
The recall of Vioxx--an arthritis treatment taken by millions of people--is a disaster for everyone. Of course it's bad news for Merck, the drug's maker. Vioxx brought in $2.5 billion last year, and withdrawing it will cut 50 cents to 60 cents from Merck's earnings per share for the year. Its guidance for 2004 is earnings per share of $3.11 to $3.17.
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