In response to our discussions related to recall of Vioxx, several readers have written to ask many questions, but these can be summarized into two umbrella questions:
- What are other prescription or even over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that I should be concerned about?
- I am taking other drugs manufactured by Merck. Can I continue to take them?
What other drugs may be as dangerous as Vioxx?
Nobody really knows. Since the FDA is literally powerless (as itself has admitted), the drug industry operates pretty much free. To shut the mouth of Congress and the administration, the drug industry has pumped millions of dollars into the campaigns of Republican leaders all the way from the president to lowly House members who might somehow be connected to influencing policy related to drugmakers. Almost in every US government department, there are either drug industry surrogates or sympathizers in powerful position whose only role is to help the drug companies, sometimes even at the expense of American people.
So American people are basically on their own and they should be very careful what drugs they take. It is best to work with the hypothesis that the drug that you might be taking may not be 100% safe since you are never sure who is hiding the facts.
One way to find out more is to find out the chemical composition of the drug that you are taking and then research if it has been approved for use in Europe and Japan. The regulatory agencies in these two parts are more powerful and have more concern about the health of their citizens.
While we would have very much liked to say that you must trust your doctor but American doctors can not always be trusted since they are also often in bed with the drug companies. There are ways to influence a doctor's opinion and the information s/he has. Even if drug companies operate within the bounds of the law, they can taint the thinking of a doctor. So don't assume that your doctor is always working in your best interest.
Are other drugs from Merck safe?
Again, no one knows. But if one were to look at the ethics of Merck, it is logical to work with the hypothesis that Merck should not be trusted, unless proven otherwise. So if you are taking a drug manufactured by Merck, it is the right time to discuss with your doctor if there are other alternatives. Merck has clearly shown that it does not care about the life of American people. While thousands of Americans were dying, Merck was happily enjoying enormous profits and funneling funds to keep politicians happy so that they would not open their mouth in opposition to the policies of drug industry (it is important to note that no one in the administration is talking about the deaths of thousands of Americans from Vioxx).
Recommended link: Complete coverage of Vioxx recall