Merck report absolves Vioxx managers: AP

Merck said the results of a 20-month company-funded investigation found that senior management acted responsibly in the development and marketing of withdrawn painkiller Vioxx, the Associated Press reported. A 1,700-page report, the result of the $21 million independent investigation, concluded “management acted with integrity and had legitimate reasons for making the decisions that it made, in light of the knowledge available at the time.” The report was compiled by a special committee of six outside directors hired by Merck to conduct the investigation into allegations the drugmaker recklessly sold Vioxx after knowing the risks connected with the drug. Merck named John Martin, a former federal judge, of the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton to lead the investigation. Mark Goodman, a partner who worked on the investigation, told the AP that no members of the team were directly asked if they had any conflicts of interest with Merck. Merck currently faces more than 14,200 lawsuits alleging it knew of Vioxx’s risks but continued to sell the drug to the public. Merck, so far, has won four lawsuits and lost four.

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