PCRM Cardiologist Testifies at FDA Hearing: Reliance on Animal Experiments Partly to Blame for Vioxx Tragedy
PCRM consultant John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., dropped a bombshell at a highly publicized Food and Drug Administration hearing on February 17. The cardiologist presented a report detailing how experiments on mice, dogs, and other animals misled scientists and ultimately contributed to the problems with Vioxx and other COX-2 inhibitors.
The report reveals that Vioxx and other COX-2 drugs actually had a heart-protective effect in mice and other animals—exactly the opposite of how the drugs later performed in humans. The report also reveals that once clinical trials started showing that the drugs caused heart problems in humans, the pharmaceutical companies ignored this information and instead pointed to the animal tests as evidence that the drugs were safe.
As Dr. Pippin pointed out, the Vioxx animal testing debacle is not unique. Over the years, millions of patients have been exposed to harmful drugs, such as Rezulin and Baycol, that seemed safe in tests on mice, dogs, rats, monkeys, horses, and other animals. The report also includes information about new, ethical, and more reliable human-based methods for studying drug metabolism.
Like all prescription medications, Vioxx went through an approval process that included significant reliance on animal testing, resulting in pain, suffering, and death to animals. However, animal testing often gives results that are not predictive of effects in humans.
PCRM intends to go to court to force Merck to disclose information about the animal studies it conducted and its reliance on them. We would use information produced by this suit to alert the public to the human health risks inherent in reliance on animal testing. To bring suit, we need to identify someone who took Vioxx for a period of time. The ideal person would have taken Vioxx for a number of months and not have had preexisting heart or circulatory problems or a history of stoke, atherosclerosis, diabetes, or significant obesity.
If you or someone you know fits this description and is interested in helping, please contact PCRM senior counsel Dan Kinburn at 202-686-2210, ext. 308, or firstname.lastname@example.org.