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Vioxx, Informal News Channels and Me

Why did I hear that Vioxx was dangerous in July while sitting at a cafeteria in Spain, but the rest of the world is only catching up with the story now?

In June I got this rather spontaneous and extremely painful inflammation of my sternoclavicular joint. My doctors here in the States put me on Vioxx before I started an extended stay in Spain. By about mid-July I was sitting at a cafeteria table while studying Spanish at a university in Toledo and I mentioned my sore shoulder and that I was taking Vioxx.

An American woman at the table said rather sharply, “Vioxx?” But no more.

So I pressed her for what was up. Turns out a close friend of hers, who was in perfect health save for some arthritis, was taking Vioxx and then wham, out of nowhere, she had a massive debilitating stroke.

Apparently she was not alone. There were enough people out there to form a class action suit against the drug company. Remember I heard all this 10 weeks ago.

Of course, now more class action suits will be on the way. Do a Google search of Vioxx and class action and you will see the sharks have smelled blood.

But the lawsuits actually began with investors suing Merck, the maker of Vioxx more than a year ago. Here is part of a lawsuit report posted at the Stanford University Law School information clearing house, posted back in January of this year:

The FDA concluded in the letter that Merck’s marketing of Vioxx was ‘false, lacking in fair balance, or otherwise misleading(.)’ Despite available information, defendants failed to adequately disclose the degree of the serious adverse risks of Vioxx, contending that the FDA Warning Letter and other studies were inaccurate and/or inconclusive, and instead, continued to tout the efficacy of the drug and the revenues derived from the sale thereof. As a result of defendants’ false and misleading statements, the price of Merck’s securities was artificially inflated during the Class Period, enabling Company insiders to sell their personally held shares of Merck for over $175 million in proceeds, and causing injury to plaintiff and other members of the Class.

So today the news is broken, coincidentally right before the presidential debates which will dominate tomorrow’s news.

Any how, I stopped taking the drug the next day in July. Of course, I am worried about the long-term consequences of taking it in the first place.

So given all the presidential news, will this news fade or, thanks to the blogosphere, will it be kept very much alive.

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