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With all of the present concern about what drug company sales reps tell doctors, there was a little known study published on this topic in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2004: 328:485). In that study, researchers analyzed drug materials given to doctors. They found that only 6% of the materials distributed by the drug companies were supported by scientific evidence. Fortunately, in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stepped up its oversight of drug manufacturers. It has rejected Merck’s (NYSE: MRK) Arcoxia application because of concerns about cardiac and stroke risks. This, despite the fact that Merck sells this drug in 63 other countries. The FDA also chastised Merck for false statements Merck made in connection with their marketing of Vioxx, the now withdrawn pain killer responsible for between 80,000 to 130,000 heart attacks and strokes.

For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices, and Implants.

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