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Vioxx Withdrawn By Merck

Posted on: 09/30/2004

Vioxx Withdrawn By Merck

Thursday, September 30 10:51am

[Editor's Note: This story does not mention brain tumors, but many brain tumor patients are on this drug, so I included it in the news blast]

Pharmaceutical giant Merck is pulling its blockbuster arthritis drug vioxx from the market worldwide.

The company says new data from a clinical trial found an increased risk of heart attack and stroke that began 18 months after patients started taking Vioxx. The data comes from a three-year study aimed at showing that Vioxx prevents recurrence of polyps in the colon and rectum.

The trial was stopped after Merck discovered the higher heart risk compared to patients taking dummy pills.

One industry analyst say calls this a disaster for Merck. Vioxx is one of Merck's most important drugs, with 2.5 billion dollars in sales in 2003. But sales dipped 18 percent in the second quarter of this year, partly due to increasing concerns about the drug's safety.

Merck Chairman Ray Gilmartin the company is recalling Vioxx because it "Best serves the interest of patients." investors are bailing on the stock. Merck shares were recently down 26 percent in new york stock exchange trading.

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