Vioxx Litigation Essay

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Engl 112 The Vioxx litigation: Exploring admissibility and reliability of science in the Ernst case. Karolina Bae 39091111 Pharmaceutical companies are never sure in terms of safety of drugs they manufacture because the side effects do not necessarily appear right away. There have been numbers of cases where medications were found to be harmful and were brought to courts by those who suffered from the side effects of them. Therefore, expert testimonies and scientific evidences are inevitably required and it is critical for court to make right judgement based on them. In “Science, Law, and the search for Truth in the Courtroom: Lessons from Daubert v. Merrell Dow”, Bertin and Henifin (1994) argue that science and law have different ways of pursuing ‘truth’ and they question who should be taking burden of this uncertain state. Mukherjee et al. (2001) and many other researchers question the risk of Vioxx, which was mainly for osteoarthritis relief, ever since it was introduced in the U.S. pharmaceutical market in 1999 (Wadman Meredith, p.899). Merck & Co. conducted an experiment on safety test of Vioxx, known as the VIGOR, before introducing it to the market and the company did hide the fact that there was a chance of harmful side effects associated with the drug (Mayer Theodore, p.1068). However due to actual risk of Vioxx, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew the drug from the market in 2004 (Wolsing Jennifer, p.214). In August 2005, Merck & Co. lost a lawsuit where it was accused for the death of Robert C. Ernst who died of taking Vioxx (Kaufman Marc, p.A.01). Throughout the Vioxx issue, most researchers have focused on the side effects of Vioxx and what consequences it brought, rather than the significance and validity of the evidence used in court. This paper will carefully examine if the scientific evidences used in the Vioxx litigation, including
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