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Tuesday, September 12th 2006

All COX Inhibitors Are Not Created Equal

Does this muddle some of the theories behind the risks of Vioxx? Not all COX-2 inhibitors carry even close to the same level of adverse risk.

On the other hand, the studies show that low doses of the Cox-2 inhibitor Celebrex — under 200 milligrams per day — appear relatively safer. They seem to suggest that the problems with Vioxx do not automatically implicate all other Cox-2 drugs.

Certainly, the two studies WedMD reference don’t shed anything but further bad light on Vioxx. Luckily however, as the situation gets worse, Merck employees are NO LONGER TALKING about Vioxx.

Higbee’s order stemmed from a request by plaintiffs’ attorneys for a court order requiring the company to preserve voicemails regarding Vioxx for potential use as evidence in litigation. Merck responded that doing so would be “unduly burdensome,” Merck’s outside attorney, Ted Mayer, said in a written statement Monday.

“Until the court has an opportunity to rule on this issue, we have instructed employees not to leave any Vioxx-related voicemails going forward and agreed to preserve whatever existing voice mails employees may have,” Mayer said.

What a crock of an order, as Point of Law points out.

[It] means that if one employee leaves another employee a voice-mail message, and the second hits star-3 out of habit after listening to it, Merck could be held in contempt of court with potentially disastrous consequences in the litigation.

Merck has nearly 40,000 US employees. Of course, a much smaller number would have reason or are likely to have need to discuss Vioxx over the phone but still, this isn’t preventing employees from shredding harmful documents. This is something trivial and I imagine difficult to regulate.

On The Way To Pick His Nose A Merck Employee
Reminds Others To Keep Quiet On Vioxx