Case Study: Merck & Company: the Vioxx Recall

1994 words 8 pages

Merck & Company: The Vioxx Recall
Albert Balogun
California Baptist University
BUS 520A: Managerial Ethics
Jim Bishop, PhD
June 30, 2010

Merck & Company: The Vioxx Recall The issues involved in Merck, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company’s recall of one its products, Vioxx, is the effect of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drug on the society public health, the impact of it on the doctor –patient relationship and other ethical considerations. The purpose of this paper is to make an exposition of issues that the recall case entailed including the ethical issues that were involved, and the
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It was at this time that the result of VIGOR trial was published internally. The outcome was that even though Vioxx patients showed less stomach damage, there is more blood clot problems than drugs in the naproxen group with five times higher risk of heart attack. Even when Merck’s head of research admitted in internal email confirmed the fear about cardiovascular and opting for more data before results were made public, it would appear as Merck deliberately suppressed the results of its own study maintaining that all was well by relying only on the favorable aspects of the study. It would appear that the company caused some academics that it was funding to issue a paper based on the VIGOR study and published ‘The New England Journal of Medicine’ to highlight Vioxx benefits to the digestive system and the cardiac problems but to maintain that patients are not at risk of heart problems. The VIGOR results continue to hunt Merck as FDA would later require a label of warning of possible link to cardiovascular problems. Surprisingly, Merck would ignore the recommendation only to be forced to include a warning label that highlight the fewer stomach problems but to expressly include a warning about possibly more heart attacks and strokes (Beauchamp et al, 2008). Merck became more aggressive spending over $100 million on DTC advertising of Vioxx. By August, 2004 when an FDA


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