An article in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine by two professors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center targets the Vioxx scandal and what should be done about future efforts to market prescriptions.
According to C. Michael Stein, M.B., B.Ch., and Wayne Ray, Ph.D., "Medications approved on the basis of studies of a few thousand patients are rapidly marketed to millions of patients, setting the stage for 'drug disasters.'
"Subsequent litigation generates billions of dollars in legal fees and settlements that ultimately become part of the cost of new medications. This haphazard process does not benefit the public health, the medical profession or the pharmaceutical industry."
Both authors derided "the present system of drug regulation," calling it "susceptible to the influence of conflicts of interest," adding that "current procedures for effective and impartial communication … to practitioners and patients are inadequate."