Merck Should Not Have to Pay Because of Vioxx

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Merck Should Not Have To Pay Because of Vioxx

MBA 504

Social Responsibility and Behavior

Douglas McCloskey

Jennifer Purvis

March 28, 2007

On March 27, 2007, in a Madison County, Illinois courtroom, a jury found that Merck Pharmaceuticals did not cause the death of a fifty-two year old woman who had taken the drug Vioxx for almost two years to alleviate her pain caused by arthritis. This is one of many lawsuits facing Merck after the discovery of a link to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes with long term use of large doses. I disagree with being able to sue and win against a drug company that warned of risks and side effects. All medicines have these risks, but the good they do outweighs the bad for the most part. A patient needs to take personal responsibility. They must make educated choices after discussing options with their doctor, and also keep the doctor informed of anything out of the ordinary they notice. In the end, we are at risk whether we take the medicine or not and we should not be able to sue when effects the producer warned us of happen. The patient assumes this risk when they choose to take the medicine.

A little bit of history on the Vioxx issue is needed to fully understand this case. The drug was introduced in May of 1999 as an arthritis medicine. It quickly became the second best selling product for Merck with sales of more than eleven billion dollars between its release and when it was recalled in September of 2004 (pg. 2). Labels on the packages during this period stated that there were increased risks for those who had cardiovascular issues. Merck recalled the medicine in September of 2004 after further research the company conducted revealed that the medication heightened risk for heart attack and stroke (pg. 1). Since then, fifteen lawsuits have gone to court, with thousands more to come. The company has pledged to fight each lawsuit, going as far as to keep more than one billion dollars in a legal...

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