Reports suggest that Merck downplayed Vioxx risks

Another day, another report suggesting that a pharmaceutical company tried to bury data impugning the safety of one of its products. This time, a study has been published in The Journal of the American Medical Association suggesting that Merck & Co. downplayed evidence that Vioxx tripled the risk of death in Alzheimer's-prone patients. What's more, a separate analysis of court documents in the Vioxx lawsuits suggests that many studies on the drug were written by Merck employees or paid consultants, rather than the physicians named as lead authors, researchers said. Apparently, in two company-sponsored trials attempting to find out whether Vioxx could slow the progression of Alzheimer's, the results suggested instead that patients were three times more likely to die of any cause than patients taking a placebo.

To learn more about this research:
- read this USA Today piece
- read this Modern Healthcare article (reg. req.)

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