How Dollars Dictated the Hasty Development of Vioxx

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 Risk

Anstice 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.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

There may be one bright side about the nearly 10,000 (and counting) lawsuits pitting mega-drugmaker Merck against the families who took their heart-stopping pain reliever Vioxx in good faith:

The world can see once and for all how drug development is driven by greed -- not by health -- and protected by federal entities that treat big business far better than they do their own citizens.

The company rushed the COX-2 inhibitor to market not out of any concern for health, but because they thought they might lose profits if they didn't beat Pfizer's Celebrex to market.

When they managed to successfully rush it through, Merck was so certain Vioxx would be a hit that the company hired more salespeople than ever before and dropped $1 million on a product launch party where Vioxx containers were handed to attendees, literally, on a silver platter.

Just a reminder, if you're struggling with pain, there are far safer and healthier ways to treat it, including:

  • Ginger: This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.

  • Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or "Indian frankincense," this herb contains specific active anti-inflammatory ingredients, referred to as boswellic acids, that animal studies have shown significantly reduce inflammation.

  • Fish or Krill Oils: The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA found in fish oil and krill oil have been found, by many animal and clinical studies, to have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce joint inflammation and promote joint lubrication. Krill oil is more stable, so it keeps its healthful properties longer.

  • Bromelain: This enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful.

  • Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a "joint lubricant" and an anti-inflammatory. This factor has been found to be highly effective in reversing arthritis and protects against calcification of joints.

  • Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils: These contain the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain. These are the exception to usually unhealthy omega-6 fats.

  • Cayenne Cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body's supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to the brain.

You should work with your own knowledgeable health care professional, someone who understands natural medicine, to develop the best combination of herbal alternatives for you.

Additionally, eating according to your nutritional type is an absolutely amazing tool to reduce pain, especially when combined with an effective energy psychology tool like the Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, which can address previous emotional traumas that cause bioelectrical short circuiting predisposing one to immune dysfunction and even chronic pain.

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