Vioxx–the designer drug is finally recalled

It’s all over the news this morning. Pharmaceutical giant Merck’s stock is suffering after it announced a recall of its most popular anti-pain-and-we-think-and-cross-our-fingers-it’s-also-anti-cancer drug. Annual global sales revenue of $2.5 billion for 2003 ($1.8 billion in the U.S. alone) lost…

What’s surprising to me, though, is how long it took them to take it off the market. A whole year ago I wrote a website on this topic for a personal injury law firm. My research showed ample evidence that Vioxx significantly increased the risk of heart attack in those taking it. And this Wasington Post article cites one of the same startling facts I uncovered: that Merck itself had disovered the risk–more than TWO years ago in 2002. The FDA, which issued Merck a warning letter back then, has been watching ever since, and apparently has only now totally convinced itself that the higher risk was more than a fluke.

The most amazing part, though, is that aspirin and ibuprofen are considered just as effective for the pain. Wonder how many people made Merck executives rich and died with their desire for this designer drug?