Did Merck Hide Data? UPDATED X 2

The New England Journal of Medicine, hardly a tool of the plaintiff’s bar, has concerns that Merck not only played dodgeball but actually hid the ball. AP puts it this way: “Vioxx maker Merck & Co. concealed heart attacks suffered by three patients during a clinical study of the now-withdrawn painkiller in a report on the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2000, the journal wrote in an editorial released Thursday.”

The editorial said this: “Taken together, these inaccuracies and deletions call into question the integrity of the data on adverse cardiovascular events in th[e earlier] article.” And this: “Excluding the three heart attacks “made certain calculations and conclusions in the article incorrect,” the doctors wrote, adding that they have asked the report’s authors to submit a correction to the journal.

A federal court jury is deliberating the third Vioxx case as this post is being written.

According to Forbes, “editors at the world’s top medical journal found by examining a computer diskette that relevant data about Vioxx’s risk to the heart compared with an older pain drug, naproxen, were deleted two days before the paper was initially submitted.”

Merck’s shares have dropped almost 3% in after-hours trading.

More to come …..

UPDATE AT 5:29 PM CDT

Go here to read Merck’s response.

UPDATE AT 8:16 PM CDT

Forbes has the best article I have read so far. Here it is.