Earlier this week, we told you how a Senate committee was investigating huge price hikes on a handful of niche-market prescription drugs. The companies involved in those probes are generally newer, smaller operations — but it looks like two much bigger names in the pharmaceuticals industry are also being asked about the prices of their drugs. [More]
Imagine you’re one of only a handful of businesses in the U.S. making a very profitable and lucrative product. Then come new rules that should have the effect of slashing your business drastically and probably weeding out what little competition there is in the market. You’d fight back, especially if you’re part of an industry that is known for tossing money around to get what you want. So why is the drug industry not up in arms about the FDA policy aimed at curbing the use of antibiotics in farm animals? Because it’s not doing anything. [More]
There are thousands of pending lawsuits against big pharma biggie Merck involving its NuvaRing birth control product and whether its marketing downplayed the risk of blood clots to women who use it. Today, Merck announced that it’s agreed to pay out $100 million to settle these claims, but that will require almost all of the eligible plaintiffs to sign off on the deal. [More]
Because it has apparently already recalled every possible product made by its McNeil Labs division, Johnson & Johnson has moved over to its Merck products for its latest recall. This time, J&J has issued a recall on 12 Mylanta liquid products and one Alternagel product for trace amounts of alcohol that weren’t properly labeled on the packaging. [More]
While myopathy (muscle injury) is a known side effect for all cholesterol-lowering statin medications, the FDA has just issued a warning that, when prescribed and used at higher doses, Zocor (generic name: simvastatin) carries with it a greater risk of developing muscle injury, including the most serious form of myopathy, rhabdomyolysis, which can lead to kidney damage, kidney failure, and possibly death. [More]
If you or someone you know were prescribed the high cholesterol drugs Zetia or Vytorin and paid full price or a co-pay, you may be eligible for a refund as part of a recent class-action lawsuit. Manufacturers Merck and Schering-Plough are accused of violating consumer protection laws. While both drugs were marketed as superior to other, cheaper statins on the market, more recent studies showed that the drugs weren’t significantly more effective than the older drugs, and could have more harmful side effects.
We stray into politics often at our peril but I had to share this clip of Sen. Franken kneecapping a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute conservative think tank. In what was supposed to be a hearing on the Medical Bankruptcy Fairness Act, Diana Furchtgott-Roth instead used her testimony to pillory against health care reform proposals not even being discussed. After Sen. Whitehouse asks her if she even read the bill at hand, Sen. Franken goes: “You said the way we’re going will increase bankruptcies…How many bankruptcies because of medical crises were there last year in Switzerland?”
Newly unearthed documents may reveal that Merck Pharmaceuticals ghostwrote dozens of Vioxx studies and then paid well-known doctors to put their name on them as if they wrote them, according to a new article to be published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). In one instance, a draft version of an article to be published listed the lead author as “External author?” Dr. Steven H. Ferris, one of the doctors whose research was questioned, call the article “simply false”, its allegations “egregious.” Let’s see what the JAMA article has to say about the study Ferris supposedly worked on:
Merck has announced that it has agreed to settle the majority of the 60,000 Vioxx-related individual claims against it.
Merck’s getting in on the arthritis market again with a new drug, called Arcoxia. You might remember their previous offering, Vioxx, which was discontinued two years ago after octogenarians countrywide lifted their contorted, claw-like hands to a withered chest and let out a rattling gasp under the influence of a massive, Vioxx-induced heart attack. Lawsuits abounded.
• Home field advantage. Shortness of breath ensues amongst the 16,000 coat-tail hopefuls, causing them to reach for their pills. [LAT] “Verdict Bolsters Merck’s Vioxx”
• It’s like that children’s game, would you rather have your hip disintegrate, or your jaw? [CT] “Lawyers gear up to attack Fosamax”
• BP oil contains black soylent green. [CT] “Jackson Leads Anti-BP March Near Refinery”
A jury awarded $9 million in punitive damages to John Darby who blamed his heart attacks on Vioxx. The sum is a defeat for drug-maker Merck, which, for some fucking reason, was assumed to be “bulletproof” because the trial took place in New Jersey.