Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Corruption at Merck

This story is not directly related to psychiatric crimes, except that about half way down the article (where I comment) it touches on the point of how so many of the mind-bending, anti-depressant drugs pass the 'scrutiny' of the F.D.A. (Food and Drug Administration).
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As lawsuits against Merck over the drug Vioxx move closer toward trial recently discovered documents show that Merck was informed by Dr. Eliav Barr, one of their own senior scientists, that one of the patients in the original clinical trial had died of a heart attack.

Merck expressed their concern by repeatedly urging the scientist to change his views “so that we don’t raise concerns”. Later, when reporting to the F.D.A., they claimed that the reason for the death of the 73 year old woman who died on Oct. 21, 1999, was “unknown”.

Email messages from the time show that Merck was deeply concerned about all the scientific data that flatly contradicted what they were busy telling the F.D.A.

Also in the emails a Merck executive said that he would personally pressure senior officials of the F.D.A. if they took any action against Merck, and unfavourable to Vioxx. (Ed note... apart from the obvious personal tragedies that this corruption directly brought about, the real story is contained in this paragraph.)

Merck have claimed all along that they had no evidence of cardiac risk from the use of Vioxx.

More than 25 million Americans took Vioxx over a five year period ending in 2004 when the drug was finally withdrawn from the market.

The first trials are due to start in May 2005.

Watch for an out of court settlement. This one could cost a bundle though as there are 4,600 claimants.

Let’s hope that the legal trials are a little more tricky for Merck to rig than the clinical trials.

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