Merck Tried to Make Changes to Vioxx

Here is a fascinating article about what was going on at Merck a few years ago.

Here’s a clip to wet your whistle:

“The widely publicized study in March 2000 found that patients taking Vioxx were five times more likely to have heart attacks than individuals using the generic medicine naproxen. Merck insisted at the time that this was a result of naproxen’s cardioprotective properties and not any defect in Vioxx.

But behind the scenes, company scientists were considering combining Vioxx with another agent to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to a document that was mistakenly provided by Merck to plaintiffs lawyers as part of the evidence-gathering process in one of the hundreds of Vioxx lawsuits around the country. …

According to the document, Edward Scolnick, the former head of Merck’s research labs, was the first to suggest combining Vioxx with an agent that would block blood platelets from clotting. Such clots can lead to heart attacks and strokes. There are three dates on the document; the first is March 30, 2000. “

This document was leaked to the press despite a court order that it and all copies of it were supposed to be returned to Merck because it was privileged. I hope it was a Merck employee and not a representative of the plaintiffs who leaked it.