Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Boudicca Draws Her Sword- Merck

I read it about it first at Laughing Wolf's. I read it with interest and was mildly irritated. Now, I'm just flat out pissed.

I get the NY Times on-line. I peruse it every morning, gleaning out what I find might be relevant, when I came upon this article (Registration required. From, use kissit, baby6). It was written by the Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. Allow me to inform you if you are not in the know, the Cleveland Clinic is IT when it comes to cardiovascular medicine. If I were to go to my cardiologist tomorrow and he were to say to me, "OK, it's time. Now we have to do something", I would come home, jump on Orbitz and find a ticket to Cleveland while I had my phone in the other hand calling to figure out how to get an appointment. I know many people who have gone there after their local surgeon or cardiologist botched things up, only to have it all put back together again at CC. Keep in mind, everyone in the medical community OR affiliated with the medical community KNOWS the reputation of the cardiovascular department at CC. EVERYONE.

So I am reading this article, when I come upon this paragraph:

In 2001, I was part of a team from the Cleveland Clinic that published a paper demonstrating the significant heart attack risk of Vioxx. Our research, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, found that compared to naproxen, a commonly used over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug with similar benefits, Vioxx has a five times greater heart attack risk. In response, Merck claimed that early conclusions about the risk were flawed, and attributed the comparatively high heart attack rates to an unproven protective effect of naproxen. Our study was followed by several others demonstrating Vioxx's dangers. Each time Merck had a similar reply: the study was "flawed."

Merck ignored it. It took an independent study by Merck for AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT REASON, to determine that Vioxx did in fact increase the chance of a heart attack. It was PURELY accidental that they found this. And then they didn't have a choice. They HAD to acknowledge this and now, and only now, are they pulling the drug.

Here is another excerpt:

Instead of doing the requisite research in patients with heart disease - who frequently have arthritis as well and are thus prime users of anti-inflammatory medicines - the company undertook studies that avoided them. At the same time, Merck spent at least $100 million a year for direct-to-consumer Vioxx advertising, while the company's employees and their consultants published several papers in medical journals rebutting studies reporting Vioxx's heart attack risk. The Food and Drug Administration could have forced Merck to do the appropriate research studies, but instead it was a bystander.

This is what I have to say to Merck. Who.The.Fuck.Do.You.Think.You.Are?

People may have died because of your drug. When someone has a heart attack, a portion of their heart dies. Heart tissue is not regenerative. Evidently you didn't know that, or really didn't give a shit, because you's not about's not about OUR's about YOU and your fucking money. It's about pleasing your stockholders. It's about beating your competition. It's about having the bigger market share. Fuck you.

I hate corporations like you. Scary thing is, I think they're all like you... oh until they get caught. Let the lawsuits begin.

When the research is being done, such as the findings at the Cleveland Clinic, the drug companies are ignoring it. They are ignoring it because they are arrogant and self righteous. They value their money over our lives. We are nothing to them. We are nameless faceless statistics that buy what we see off the TV or take what our doctors thrust in our hands... the vast majority of whom were educated about these drugs by the drug companies themselves via drug reps. I am angry and I am sick of it.

And where was the FDA? Overwhelmed with the drugs flooding the market? Steeped in it's own bureaucracy? Is someone being paid off? Or are they just wholly incompetent?

So today, as I draw my sword, I say to Merck, "A pox upon you and your ilk. May you rot."


Blogger VW said...

Yep, I saw it on the news yesterday that they are recalling Vioxx. Let's just hope they take the time to let the doctors know as well.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Jody said...

My dad has been on Vioxx for 3 years. Last year he had a heartattack. His doctor has yet to call him about Vioxx being pulled & he has tried calling her but she hasn't returned his calls. If there is proof that the company KNEW about this I hope for a HUGE lawsuit. This goes far past malpractice and into complete disregard for human life.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Graumagus said...

When you consider that it takes nearly a billion dollars to research and market a new drug, it's easy to see why these assholes would supress the data.
I'm not a religious man, but if such a place exists I hope each and every corporate suit who knew about that shit has his own special cubicle in hell.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bou, the answer to where was the FDA watchdog is simple, off chasing the other rabbits. One inquiry from a congresscritter is worth a thousand from the public. They go after who they're sent after.
Worse, the problem is compounded by the fact that ninety percent plus of the FDA employees want to work in the private sector where the money is. The ten percent that don't want to work for the very companies they're supposed to be watching are the crusaders, three quarters of them are crusading against tobacco.
The FDA is, at best, understaffed, underfunded and unmotivated.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Quality Weenie said...

I use to be on Vioxx when it first came out, but I had heard and read about it increasing your risk of blood clots. I asked my doc about it because blood clots run on both sides of my family (that's what my dad died from) and I was worried. The doc said it shows an increase because it's mostly older people on it and old people have more blood clots. I told him to switch me because I didn't want to take any chances (good thing). So I'm on Celebrex now. They are checking Celebrex / Bextra now for the same issues as Vioxx, but they say they don't think they will find anything because it's a little different than Vioxx.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

Peter... so the FDA is like all the other governmental agencies... as I suspected. *grin*

What really really pisses me off is the fact that CC, world renowned for their excellence in cardiovascular medicine, TELLS Merck there are issues and they say, "Your study is flawed." They should have immediately done their own study. Now, because of what I consider gross irresponsibility, there will be class action lawsuits that could really pull that company apart... and they deserve it. They really do.

8:19 AM  

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