Saturday, September 10, 2005

Merck in the Dock Again

On the eve of its second court case over the drug Vioxx, Merck & Co the giant pharmaceutical company made a conference call to reporters this week re-asserting its plans to fight each and every lawsuit. Vioxx was withdrawn from the market after up to 400,000 deaths in the US alone were attributed to it.

Kenneth Frazier, the senior vice president of Merck also desperately sought to reassure investors in the company that they would not lose their shirts from the lawsuits despite analysts claiming that they stand to lose around $50 billion in total if they are found guilty. Frazier made the amusing claim that “Merck’s future is both secure and promising.”

Last month Merck claimed they they would settle a number of cases out of court. That they are now back-pedalling on that announcement is probably due to the fear of enticing even more claimants into the law courts. The s*^# has finally hit the fan. A sense of panic is in the air.

In a way it has similar parallels to the New Orleans disaster. It was always going to happen, the inevitable always does. The current crop of rogues running Big Pharma just hoped it would not be on their watch, just as the mayor of New Orleans hoped it would not be on his watch. Who will Big Pharma try to point the finger at?

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