As you know, Andy Birchfield, who heads up our Mass Torts Section, was instrumental in negotiating the massive settlement with Merck & Co. over Vioxx. I thought it might be interesting to review some key events that occurred in the Vioxx litigation. As you should already know, there have been a number of significant developments over the past decade. Some of the most important are set out below:
The Vioxx debacle was one that should never have happened. Had Merck been truthful, the FDA would never have approved Vioxx. Had the FDA done its job Vioxx would never have been approved regardless of what Merck did or failed to do. Many believe that the FDA has to share at least part of the blame for allowing a dangerous drug to be put on the market. In any event, the Vioxx problems are a classic example of what happens at a drug manufacturer when marketing forces take over the running of a company and push doctors to the back row. That’s exactly what happened at Merck. It became profits over safety without any doubt.
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