Merck and the Vioxx Scandal Continued
Merck threatens scientists to suppress anti-Vioxx information
Merck has even been caught red-handed trying to suppress negative information about its drugs. Gurkirpal Singh, a Stanford University researcher, was threatened by the company and told he would "flame out" (meaning his career would be ended) unless he stopped giving "anti-Merck" lectures. This has now been revealed in a letter of complaint written to Merck by Dr. James Fries, a Stanford University Medical School professor, who went on to say, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, "There is a line that you can't go across. ... It had gone over that line."
It wasn't just Stanford University, either: chief researchers at several top medical schools were being threatened by Merck. Dr. James Fries called it, "a consistent pattern of intimidation of investigators by Merck."
Merck's Chief Executive Raymond Gilmartin, in response, says it the firm has "a deep and abiding commitment to the highest ethical standards in all our dealings with physicians and other healthcare providers." Sure it does. And Vioxx is good for you, too.
As if all this wasn't enough, a Merck training manual was developed and distributed to help company officials fend off criticisms about Vioxx and instill pro-Vioxx propaganda in the minds of doctors. The document listed questions about the safety of Vioxx and said in capital letters, "DODGE!" Internally, it was even called the "Dodge Ball Vioxx" document. The primary purpose of the document was to convince doctors to keep prescribing Vioxx, even while evidence of the drug's dangers mounted.
Classic Big Pharma behavior
What does all this add up to? It's Big Pharma as usual, folks: distorted clinical studies, lying to consumers, threatening critics, burying negative evidence and all the while heavily promoting the drug to physicians and consumers. This is exactly what I've been talking about all along. These companies are knowingly harming patients just so they can keep selling dangerous drugs to a population that's generally too uninformed to know any better. And most conventional physicians just kept on prescribing the drug, oblivious to the true causes of disease or health.
Given all the damning evidence about Vioxx and its handling by Merck, does the company apologize and try to make amends? Of course not. Merck said in a recent news release that it "acted responsibly and appropriately as it developed and marketed Vioxx."
See, it's not just that these pharmaceutical companies act with reckless endangerment to the public, it's also the stunning fact that they don't see anything wrong with it. They will develop a dangerous drug, distort the clinical trials, lean on the FDA for approval, threaten scientists who speak out against the drug, and finally when the body bags start mounting, they'll claim they are innocent and have been acting ethically and honestly all along.
Merck and the Vioxx Scandal Continued...
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