Merck researcher hints that company may again sell Vioxx
Merck said yesterday it would consider returning Vioxx to the market if an FDA advisory committee decides the drug's risks are also found in other similar medicines.
Merck research head Peter Kim said, "If the advisory committee and the FDA conclude that the benefits of this class outweigh the risks in some patient populations, then we would have to consider the implications of these new data, given the unique benefits Vioxx offers," according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Kim made the comments to an FDA advisory panel during the second of three days of deliberations on the safety of painkilling drugs. The panel is due to vote later today.
A reversal of the withdrawal would be a shocking turn of events after one of the biggest drug withdrawals in U.S. history.
Merck offered its thoughts as members of the advisory committee were coming to an apparent consensus that signs of cardiovascular risk were not limited to Vioxx and likely applied to other COX-2s such as Pfizer's Bextra and Celebrex.
Meanwhile, European regulators yesterday took their own action against COX-2s concluding drugs in the class carry increased cardiovascular risks and imposing stronger warning labels on all of the drugs.