February 26, 2005
A Washington advocacy group, The Center for Science in the Public Interest, has revealed that 10 out of 32 drug advisors on the federal Food and Drug Administration panel which recently voted to approve the return of Vioxx and Bextra to the marketplace have disclosed ties to Merck and Pfizer, the companies which sell the drugs.
The ten advisors with ties to the companies voted 9 to 1 in favor of both Vioxx and Bextra. Without their votes the panel would have voted 14 to 8 to withdraw Vioxx and 12 to 8 to withdraw Bextra.
The advocacy group identified the ten from their database of disclosures in public documents such as medical journals. It noted that other panel members may have ties to Merck and Pfizer but they have not been disclosed.
The New York Times reported that shares of Merck and Pfizer soared immediately after the panel's vote.
The Times also reported that some lawyers and analysts on Wall Street felt that the panel's vote would help the companies fight off consumer lawsuits.
Conclusion? Drug companies are no fools when it comes to investing
their extravagant profits wisely.