Vioxx Makes Me Feel Better!

It's damned hard to love a Big Pharmaceutical company—especially if you viewed John LeCarré's latest, The Constant Gardener. Moreover, I don't know the details of the Vioxx lawsuit which Merck effectively won today.

What I can say is that with Great Gain comes some Pain. I do not take lightly the death of a single human being from Vioxx, if indeed that were the case. I do believe that if a drug dramatically helps millions, one must, for better or worse, expect a little downside. I do not want to see clinical trials for new drugs extended forever and ever. And subsequent approval extended forever and ever. Perhaps it's a function of age, but I want demonstrated good stuff available even if there is a minute chance of attendant harm. As in: Welcome to Life 101. Right now I have a couple of docs fighting about a drug that might help me with a minor problem. One is conservative. One is aggressive. The med that the aggressive one wants to use has a few low-odds side effects. I don't know how I'll decide, but I damn well appreciate having the two options.

(Truth in lending: I was a temporary Vioxx user, following a bout of knee pain a few years ago. It worked.)