Merck & Co., Inc.
- Homepage: http://www.merck.com/
November 2004: "Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company. Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of innovative products to improve human and animal health, directly and through its joint ventures."http://www.merck.com/about/mission.html
November 2012: "Maybe the most widely reported research controversy arose over the arthritis drug Vioxx, which had been featured positively in a NEJM article. The article reported the results of a trial that was funded by Merck and was co-written by two company researchers."http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/as-drug-industrys-influence-over-research-grows-so-does-the-potential-for-bias/2012/11/24/bb64d596-1264-11e2-be82-c3411b7680a9_story.html
July 2011: "Oversight bodies like the Food and Drug Administration generally don’t view seeding trials as research scandals: seeding trials are not illegal, and the drugs in question have already received F.D.A. approval. But even after particularly egregious seeding trials have been exposed, the F.D.A. has not issued sanctions. Take the notorious Advantage study, a seeding trial of the pain reliever Vioxx conducted by Merck. According to a 2008 report in the Annals of Internal Medicine, litigation documents show that the Advantage study was conceived and managed by Merck’s marketing department. Three subjects died in the Advantage trial; five more subjects experienced heart attacks. Oversight bodies should treat the Advantage study as a violation of research ethics."http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/29/opinion/useless-pharmaceutical-studies-real-harm.html
March 2009: "Merck also began an ambitious marketing campaign and lobbying push to persuade states to add the [Gardasil--Ed.] vaccine to the list of those required for children to attend school. But the company eventually abandoned the strategy in the face of an intense backlash from critics who argued that the decision should be left to parents. Although many states considered such mandates, so far only Virginia and the District have imposed one, and Haupt said the company has no plans to pursue that strategy again."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/25/AR2009032503682.html
August 2008: "The marketing helped make Gardasil one of Merck’s best sellers, with a projected sales of $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion outside Europe this year, and more from sales in Europe, where Merck sells the vaccine through a joint venture with Sanofi Aventis."http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/20/health/policy/20vaccine.html
July 2008: "Among the largest false-claims cases to date are a $650 million settlement earlier this year by drugmaker Merck in connection with an alleged failure to repay Medicaid rebates; a $515 million deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb to cover illegal drug pricing and marketing; and a $98 million agreement with software maker Oracle over pricing."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/01/AR2008070103071.html
April 2008: "The drug maker Merck drafted dozens of research studies for a best-selling drug, then lined up prestigious doctors to put their names on the reports before publication, according to an article to be published Wednesday in a leading medical journal."http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/15/business/15cnd-vioxx.html
April 2008: 'CHICAGO — The lead outside investigator on a crucial trial of two widely used heart drugs said in an e-mail message last July that Merck and Schering-Plough, the companies that make the drugs, were deliberately delaying the release of the trial results “to hide something.”'http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/business/01drug.html
February 2008: "Criticism of consumer advertising of pharmaceuticals flared as an issue back in 2004, when Merck withdrew Vioxx, a heavily advertised painkiller, after a clinical trial showed that it sharply increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The pharmaceutical industry adopted voluntary guidelines the next year suggesting that companies delay advertising new products for an unspecified period after they first reach the market."http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/07/business/media/07jarvik.html
January 2008: "The second is that the settlement does not become effective until 85 percent of the plaintiffs sign up. That concept is not particularly controversial, and it is perfectly understandable. Merck & Company, which made Vioxx, wants to settle only if it can buy something like global peace."http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/22/us/22bar.html
January 2008: "The ENHANCE study [showing a lack of effectiveness of Zetia--Ed.] was completed in April 2006, but the results were only released Monday by Merck and Schering-Plough after continual prodding by medical professionals. According toThe New York Times, the companies had initially planned to release the findings by March 2007, but then missed several self-imposed deadlines, blaming the delay on the complexities of necessary data analysis."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/14/AR2008011401639.html
November 2007: Three years after withdrawing its pain medication Vioxx from the market, Merck announced today that it will pay $4.85 billion to settle 27,000 lawsuits by people who contend they or their family members suffered injury or died after taking the drug.http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/09/business/09cnd-merck.html
August 2007: In fact, none of the 45,000 people who have sued Merck, contending that they or their loved ones suffered heart attacks or strokes after taking Vioxx, have received payments from the company. The lawsuits continue, for now in a state of legal limbo, with little prospect of resolution.http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/21/business/21merck.html
December 2005: The editors of the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday accused the authors of an article on the painkiller Vioxx of underreporting the number of heart attacks that occurred in a study published five years ago.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/08/AR2005120802340.html
Role Name Type Last Updated Former Owner of (partial or full) Medco Health Solutions Organization Nov 15, 2004 Owner of (partial or full, past or present) Merck-Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals Organization Feb 27, 2008 Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Richard T. Clark Person May 10, 2005 Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Raymond V. Gilmartin Person Nov 14, 2004 Organization Executive (past or present) Peter Löscher Person Jan 24, 2008 Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Dr. P. Roy Vagelos M.D. Person Apr 27, 2008
Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Nov 24, 2012 As drug industry’s influence over research grows, so does the potential for bias
QUOTE: What only careful readers of the article would have gleaned is the extent of the financial connections between the drugmaker and the research.Whether these ties altered the report on Avandia may be impossible for readers to know. But while sorting through the data from more than 4,000 patients, the investigators missed hints of a danger that, when fully realized four years later, would lead to Avandia’s virtual disappearance from the United States: The drug raised the risk of heart attacks....
Washington Post Jul 28, 2011 Useless Studies, Real Harm (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: In an age of for-profit clinical research, this is the new face of scandal. Pharmaceutical companies promote their drugs with pseudo-studies that have little if any scientific merit, and patients naïvely sign up, unaware of the ways in which they are being used.
New York Times Jun 04, 2011 Drug Makers’ Feared Enemy Switches Sides, as Their Lawyer
QUOTE: a year and a half ago, Mr. Loucks, a Republican, left the United States attorney’s office in Boston after he was passed over for the top post and President Obama appointed a Democrat. Instead, Mr. Loucks joined Skadden, Arps last July, and has startled former allies by emerging in recent months as zealous a corporate defender as he was a prosecutor, complete with proposals seeking more lenient treatment for the medical companies he once vilified.
New York Times Oct 08, 2009 How to Stop the Counterfeit-Medicine Drugs Trade
QUOTE: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 50% of drugs sold online have either been falsified or altered in some way.
Time Magazine Sep 02, 2009 High Stakes for Merck in Litigation on Fosamax
QUOTE: Drug executives, product liability lawyers and Wall Street analysts are closely watching a jury trial in New York over medical problems associated with Fosamax, a drug from Merck... It is the first of about 900 state and federal cases pending against Merck in which plaintiffs claim that taking Fosamax caused them to develop a rare problem called osteonecrosis of the jaw.
New York Times Aug 19, 2009 Report: HPV vaccine may be going to the wrong women
QUOTE: some doctors now question whether the [HPV] vaccine has been overpromoted to affluent women who need it least instead of patients most at risk of dying from the disease.
USA TODAY Jul 26, 2009 Lawmakers Seek to Curb Drug Commercials
QUOTE: For some legislators and consumer advocates, the [drug] ads are a daily reminder of a health care system run amok. Critics contend that drug ads are intended to prompt people to diagnose themselves with chronic quality-of-life problems like insomnia or restless leg syndrome; lead people to pressure their doctors for prescriptions for expensive brand-name drugs to treat these conditions; and steer people away from cheaper generic pills.
New York Times Mar 26, 2009 A Vaccine Debate Once Focused on Sex Shifts as Boys Join the Target Market
QUOTE: medical authorities recommended that they receive it [the Gardasil vaccine--Ed.] at age 11 or 12 to protect them before they start having sex. Critics worried that vaccinating children would send a subtle signal that their parents assumed they would become sexually active and that it would give youngsters a false sense of security.
Washington Post Mar 10, 2009 Drug Investors Lose Patience
QUOTE: Now, with cash scarce, credit tight and big drug companies like Merck intent on branching into biotechnology themselves, struggling start-ups may no longer get second and third chances to succeed.
New York Times Aug 19, 2008 Drug Makers' Push Leads to Cancer Vaccines' Rise
QUOTE: In two years, cervical cancer has gone from obscure killer confined mostly to poor nations to the West’s disease of the moment... The lightning-fast transition from newly minted vaccine to must-have injection in the United States and Europe represents a triumph of what the manufacturers call education and their critics call marketing.
New York Times Jul 02, 2008 A Backlog Of Cases Alleging Fraud: Whistle-Blower Suits Languish at Justice
QUOTE: More than 900 cases alleging that government contractors and drugmakers have defrauded taxpayers out of billions of dollars are languishing in a backlog that has built up over the past decade because the Justice Department cannot keep pace with the surge in charges brought by whistle-blowers, according to lawyers involved in the disputes.
Washington Post May 23, 2008 F.D.A. to Expand Scrutiny of Risks From Drugs After They’re Approved for Sale
QUOTE: The agency now relies on an unsystematic system in which doctors, patients and manufacturers report problems with drugs and medical devices when they deem them important. One doctor might see an infection following the use of a drug as important to report while another might not. The agency estimates that it receives reports for only a fraction of actual drug effects.
New York Times Apr 15, 2008 Ghostwriters Used in Vioxx Studies, Article Says
QUOTE: The drug maker Merck drafted dozens of research studies for a best-selling drug, then lined up prestigious doctors to put their names on the reports before publication, according to an article to be published Wednesday in a leading medical journal.
New York Times Apr 01, 2008 Accusations of Delays in Releasing Drug Results
QUOTE: The lead outside investigator on a crucial trial of two widely used heart drugs said in an e-mail message last July that Merck and Schering-Plough, the companies that make the drugs, were deliberately delaying the release of the trial results “to hide something.”
New York Times Feb 07, 2008 Drug Ads Raise Questions for Heart Pioneer
QUOTE: ...the Lipitor campaign is a rare instance of a well-known doctor’s endorsing a drug in advertising — and it has helped rekindle a smoldering debate over whether it is appropriate to aim ads for prescription drugs directly at consumers.
New York Times Jan 22, 2008 In Vioxx Settlement, Testing a Legal Ideal: A Lawyer’s Loyalty
QUOTE: ...a critic of the settlement [between Merck and lawyers of various plantiffs who claim Vioxx caused their heart attacks and strokes], said that the deal ran afoul of a fundamental ethics rule prohibiting lawyers from promising not to handle certain cases in exchange for settlement money.
New York Times Jan 14, 2008 Cholesterol Drug Zetia Doesn't Benefit Health, Trial Shows
QUOTE: study was completed in April 2006, but the results were only released Monday by Merck and Schering-Plough after continual prodding by medical professionals. According toThe New York Times, the companies had initially planned to release the findings by March 2007, but then missed several self-imposed deadlines, blaming the delay on the complexities of necessary data analysis.
Washington Post Nov 09, 2007 Merck Agrees to Pay $4.85 Billion for Vioxx Claims
QUOTE: Based on the fact that the 27,000 suits cover about 47,000 sets of plaintiffs, the average plaintiff will receive just more than $100,000 before legal fees and expenses, which usually swallow 30 percent to 50 percent of payments to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs who do not want to accept the settlement can pursue their own claims, but with so many of the top trial lawyers in the United States agreeing to the deal, they may have difficulty doing so.
New York Times Aug 21, 2007 Plaintiffs Find Payday Elusive in Vioxx Cases
QUOTE: none of the 45,000 people who have sued Merck, contending that they or their loved ones suffered heart attacks or strokes after taking Vioxx, have received payments from the company.
New York Times Jul 04, 2007 SAP, German Software Giant, Admits to Illicit Downloads
QUOTE: SAP, the big German software maker, admitted yesterday that a subsidiary had improperly obtained documents and software from Oracle, its archrival in the business software market.
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