Drug companies manipulate legal system to deny justice to patients

New York Times 21 August 2007

Merck’s Vioxx Defence Strategy Prevents Plaintiffs From Getting Compensation: The case of Vioxx litigations demonstrates that consumers of inadequately tested FDA-approved medicines that prove lethal, are no better off than in the pre-FDA snake-oil era.

The New York Times reports that despite Merck’s withdrawal of Vioxx from the market due to its causing cardiovascular damage, Merck’s legal defense strategy is working: The strategy’s successes, from the view of Merck and its shareholders, are clear:

“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. In combating the litigation, Merck has made an aggressive, and so far successful, bet that forcing plaintiffs to trial will reduce the number of Vioxx lawsuits and, ultimately, its liability. Promising to contest every case, Merck has spent more than $1 billion over the last three years in legal fees. It has refused, at least publicly, to consider even the possibility of an overall settlement to resolve all the lawsuits at once.”

Plaintiff’s lawyers accuse Merck of manipulating the legal system “to deprive justice to tens of thousands of people whose cases can never be heard.”

Glaxo and all the the other drug companies take exactly the same action – they’re not interested in protecting patients, all they’re interested in is their profits.

If drug companies ever do have to make payouts, then they will make the payout conditional upon signing a gagging order – to keep the truth hidden – they buy our silence.

2 Responses to “Drug companies manipulate legal system to deny justice to patients”

  1. experimental chimp Says:

    So, corporations are acting like corporations? This doesn’t seem surprising to me. Don’t these corporations have a legal duty to their shareholders to put profits first? And isn’t it slightly absurd to criticise corporations for acting in ways that are legally required?

    What changes would you suggest should be made in order to maximise care of patients over profits?

  2. truthman30 Says:

    I think you are missing the point Mr Chimp ..
    Just because corporations act like corporations doesn’t mean it’s ok .. And about “having a legal duty to their shareholders to put profits first”… there may be some truth in that…
    But also they have a legal duty to abide by something called “Corporate responsability”…

    Oh and then of course we have the trivial matter of a thing called “ethics”…( sounds novel in our current age i know, but call me old fashioned if you will)

    When all “responsability, ethics and moral duties” of an individual or a “corporation” are abandoned for the pursuit of greed then that to me is a failed corporation…

    And it is exactly why GSK have become the inhuman monstrosity that they are today…

    “And isn’t it slightly absurd to criticise corporations for acting in ways that are legally required? ”

    No, it is not slightly absurd… it is bringing awareness to the nature of the beast..

    “What changes would you suggest should be made in order to maximise care of patients over profits?”…

    I fear it is too late for Glaxo… The rot has already set in …


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