“Win or lose, trial lawyers get millions in Vioxx fees”

by Walter Olson on September 25, 2011

Merck “won the vast majority of cases that went to trial,” and the most notable case that went the other way was marred by dubious testimony and juror misconduct — none of which kept plaintiffs’ lawyers from carting home $1.5 billion-plus in fees. [Ted Frank, Examiner]

{ 8 comments }

1 david 09.25.11 at 9:45 am

I am a cardiologist. Long before Vioxx announced problems with this drug, it was apparent that it was dangerous. Vioxx only responded by sending out hired guns to dream up answers. Merck is not one the hit parade as one of the more responsible of companies. Watch closely what will happen with the statin drugs after Nov. That is when the patent expires on Lipitor. Talk about a class of drugs that has been pushed through, is worthless and has a high side effect profile that is not acknowledged. If you go to the ACC site and look at the acknowledgements that our peers have to make about money they recieve from big pharm, you will be blown away. Every single one is bought and paid for.

2 Invid 09.25.11 at 9:57 am

I don’t think too many lawyers would be surprised that doctors are paid for by big pharma. After all, we purchase expert testimony from doctors all the time (and the doctors make out like bandits).

3 Smart Dude 09.25.11 at 11:41 am

Vioxx was an outstanding medication for short term use in acute arthritic inflammation. It was never banned by the FDA, but removed from the market due to litigation costs.

This is just wrong. All medications can have potential dangerous side effects, even vitamins and aspirin.

The trial lawyers (including trial lawyers pretending to be concerned citizens) made a ton of money with the Vioxx Scam, to the detriment of all of us.

4 Ron Miller 09.25.11 at 2:01 pm

I’m taking the Cardiologist over Smart Dude and giving 18 points.

5 Bob Lipton 09.25.11 at 3:36 pm

Is not the interest of justice best served by making lawyers rich? What other purpose does the law have?

Bob

6 david 09.25.11 at 8:52 pm

invid,
I have done expert for about 25 years. In that time I have seen a distinct tendency for witnesses to blatantly lie about even the simplest of issues. I want take a case unless I can support my testimony with data. Unfortunately, that is not the case any more with many of my peers. What is worse is that juries will believe the lies more frequently now due to the way that opposing attorneys put the witness on trial rather than what he is saying. I has gotten to the point that I thought I was going to be physically attacked in the court room.

7 William Nuesslein 09.26.11 at 7:12 am

I presume David above graduated from medical school although his comment is grotesquely ignorant. As I remember the problem a fairly low risk of .75% doubled to 1.5%. This doubling has been confirmed, but it is not that great a deal. The rewards from the drug could easily outweigh the small risk. It is amazing how the hype machine brings up corruption from profit seeking drug companies while ignoring their own gravy train.

8 david 09.26.11 at 4:42 pm

William,
Good point, the problem is that the acknowledge risk of a drug has little to do with reality. When every single individual that presents to me with CHF has profound worsening of his symptoms on Vioxx, then their is a minor concern for the use of a minor anti-inflammatory agent. Celebrex causes maybe about 50% less difficulty. Then there is the small matter of an increase in cardiovascular incidents such as myocardial infarcts. Again, the reported incident was much lower than what we were seeing. Now there is actually a very good reason for this that does not have a direct correlation to the drug. The problem is that heart disease is not caused by cholesterol as you have been led to believe, but is actually caused by a little understood issue with inflammation. It turns out that if you make alterations in the immune system, such as achieved with AIDS, chemotherapy, or even use of certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, then the athrosclerotic disease become much worse. But this is information that will only come out in the next few years due to the hold of big pharma on medical research. A good place to start looking would be to google inflammation and coronary artery diesease, you will get a few hits. Or you can get a layman’s book called “The Cholesterol Myth”.

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