Saturday, December 17, 2005

1907 The lawyers line up for Vioxx lawsuits

A man who was taking Vioxx died of a heart attack. The jury awarded his widow millions, despite the medical evidence, and now it's going to be really tough to get pain meds on the market, but easy for lawyers to find clients. Think of the thousands who took Vioxx--and they were older, with many health concerns besides the constant pain. Most of the people I know who are in constant pain--the kind that destroys their quality of life, keeps them awake at night or interfers with their ability to work, would probably prefer to take the risk and live with some relief.

On the other hand, young healthy women took Mifepristone (RU 486) for abortion (no one knows how many, but probably not as many as the older, less healthy folk who took Vioxx), and four Americans and one Canadian that we know of died from ruptured ectopic pregnancies. They had some cramping (normal for this procedure), no fever, and died quickly. I'm guessing that there are more, but because of the nature of their deaths, their families, husbands or boyfriends probably didn't publicize it. Nor would the women's movement (do we call it that anymore--the folks who lobby for death by abortion?) Why is no one suing Planned Parenthood which routinely uses this abortificant.

Yes, there's a warning in a black box, but Vioxx had a warning too. Go figure. I can't decide if there's no outrage because the victims were women, or because it was abortion and that makes it a political issue. Or perhaps the pharmaceutical company, Danco, doesn't have the deep pockets?

Story in New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 1, 2005, v. 353, no.22. Not free on line--check your public library.

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