How Dollars Dictated the Hasty Development of Vioxx
March 25, 2006
In the most recent Vioxx liability trial, David Anstice, Merck's former president of human health, testified that Merck rushed development of Vioxx because it was concerned it would lose profits if it did not beat Pfizer's similar drug Celebrex to market.
Three Times the Financial Value
The company needed Vioxx sales to replace those of six major drugs, which were due to expire. Merck officials calculated that Vioxx would be worth $900 million a year in sales if it was first to market, and only $300 million a year if it was second.
Vioxx eventually reach $2.5 billion in annual sales before Merck withdrew it in September 2004 due to the ongoing controversy regarding its heart attack risks.
Downplaying the RiskAnstice also attested that Merck had negotiated with the FDA prior to Vioxx's release to ensure that warnings about cardiovascular risks were downplayed on the drug's label.