FDA Tells Merck “NO” — Twice Burned, Twice Shy?

A few weeks ago, the FDA refused Merck Pharmaceuticals permission to sell a newly developed drug called MK-0524A  that combines niacin and a cholesterol drug . Today we learn that Merck has now stopped trials of the drug.

As you know if you read this blog or my other blogs regularly, Merck has been caught with its pants down twice in the past years — first with Vioxx, a pain-reducing drug that the FDA approved, not knowing that Merck had already learned that patients with pre-existing heart problems were dying after taking it. Merck is now paying out billions of dollars to the families of those who died, or people who got sicker from taking Vioxx.

Then earlier this year, Merck, in cohoots with Shering Plough’s eager marketers, finally released study results that showed Vytorin — a very EXPENSIVE cholesterol reducing drug — didn’t work the way they anticipated, and no better than far less expensive cholesterol reducing drugs. At least Vytorin (so far) isn’t considered dangerous. It just doesn’t work like it should.

You know — once burned, twice shy. But now the FDA, and Americans who took those Merck drugs have been burned twice (that we know about!)…. I wonder if this most recent denial of approval doesn’t reflect that?

Thank heavens the FDA is finally putting its foot down and not bowing to the big bucks of big pharma.

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Trisha Torrey
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