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Merck failed to test safety of Vioxx on heart

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barb162 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 05:19 PM
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Merck failed to test safety of Vioxx on heart
Merck failed to test safety of Vioxx on heart
No studies conducted before drug went on market, company official says

Pat Sullivan / AP file

Updated: 3:47 p.m. ET July 20, 2005
ANGLETON, Texas - Merck & Co. didnt do any significant studies on whether Vioxx could cause heart attacks or other serious cardiovascular problems before the popular painkiller went on the market in 1999, the companys top epidemiologist testified Wednesday.

Nancy Santanello, head of Mercks epidemiology department and the companys corporate face at the nations first Vioxx-related lawsuit to go to trial, said nothing in Mercks database before the drug went on the market in 1999 indicated it could cause heart attacks.


2002 heart study cancelled
Lanier contends Merck knew years earlier that Vioxx could be dangerous but needed the lucrative drug to keep its bottom line growing after patents for other big sellers ran out in 2000 and 2001. Santanello acknowledged under his questioning that Vioxx accounted for a dime of every dollar in Mercks $2.5 billion in sales in 2002.

In 2000 a study showed some Vioxx users could suffer five times as many heart attacks as those using the older painkiller naproxen sold under the brand name Aleve.

In early 2002 Merck canceled a study intended to focus on Vioxxs effects on the heart.
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2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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