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February 20, 2005
Overall, I found the conclusionsn of the FDA's COX-2 committee quite reasonable (and not too far from what I predicted during the day on Friday.) Perhaps their actions will calm things down a bit. After all, they had the chance to bay at the moon, yank everything off the market and call for heads on pikes. But they ended up saying (I'm paraphrasing just a bit): "Y'know, these drugs really do have side effects. But a lot of stuff does. And they do some people some good. Maybe if just the people who really need them take them, things will work themselves out."
This all should make Merck's path forward in their Vioxx lawsuits a little easier. They could still face a punitive-damages avalanche, of course, and a lot of lawyers will be working to get the snowpack loosened up. I assume that the first case will be tried in Mississippi, Texas, or some other jury award paradise - picking the right venue is part of the art.
I'm just glad that the "Toxic drugs! Film at eleven!" momentum has been lost. I think that the industry, the stock market, the public, and (most definitely) the press were really close to panic there for a bit. (Naturally enough, in the last case, since panic sells.) But outside of advertising revenue, it does no one any good. If you make the right decision in that frame of mind, it's generally by accident.
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