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Issue 18
A Culture Of Secrecy, Deception And Lies
Cites - An Animal Dealer's Charter?
Pet Cloning - Cruel To Animals And Humans
Whatever Happened To Oscar?
Urgent Appeal
Book Review : Animal Rights In South Africa
Vioxx Suit Faults Animal Tests
Half Of All Birth Defects Missed By Animal Tests
Science Cafe
Hall of Fame
Top Quotes


A lawsuit filed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) a non-profit medical ethics group that encourages ethical practices in research, claims that pharmaceutical giant Merck monkeyed with the facts when it failed to warn consumers about the health risks of taking Vioxx, its arthritis pain medication.

Although a previous clinical test showed that Vioxx increased the likelihood of heart ailments and despite having test results "from over 8,000 humans that the drug was killing people", the company relied on animal studies, including those performed on African green monkeys, as the basis for claims that the drug was safe, More than 3,800 product-liability and injury lawsuits have been filed against Merck for its sales of Vioxx, which the company pulled off the market in September 2004, but the PCRM lawsuit is the first to focus on Merck's use of animal testing data as contributing to the injuries suffered by consumes who took Vioxx. The complaint alleges that reliance on the animal data was "grossly improper and a violation of Merck's legal and ethical obligations".

According to the complaint, "Merk knew there were superior alternatives to using animal tests, which are "often proven misleading to the point of being dangerous for the evaluation of drugs that will be prescribed to humans but continued to use animal studies to justify continuing to sell Vioxx," said Dr. John Pippin, a cardiologist and consultant to PCRM. He added that the Vioxx test results proved that animal studies should not be relied on when developing drugs for humans.

Mary Shepherd, director of the Center for Pharmacoeconomic Studies at the University of Texas, whose research focus includes the drug industry and the FDA approval process, researchers will sometimes during drug development change the species if the results of the animal studies conflict with human test data. The response to medications can vary widely between breeds of the same species.


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