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Drug Company Merck Drew Up Doctor "Hit List"

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the i'll-have-your-job-young-man dept.

Businesses 281

Philip K Dickhead sends in a piece from the Australian media, a couple of weeks old, that hasn't seen much discussion here. In a class-action lawsuit in Australia against Merck for its Vioxx anti-arthritis drug, information has come out that the company developed a "hit list" of doctors who had expressed anything but enthusiasm for the drug. Vioxx was withdrawn from the market in 2004 because it causes heart attacks and strokes. Merck settled a class action in the US for $4.85 billion but did not admit guilt. "An international drug company made a hit list of doctors who had to be 'neutralized' or discredited because they criticized the anti-arthritis drug the pharmaceutical giant produced. Staff at US company Merck & Co. emailed each other about the list of doctors — mainly researchers and academics — who had been negative about the drug Vioxx or Merck and a recommended course of action. The email, which came out in the Federal Court in Melbourne yesterday as part of a class action against the drug company, included the words 'neutralize,' 'neutralized,' or 'discredit' against some of the doctors' names. It is also alleged the company used intimidation tactics against critical researchers, including dropping hints it would stop funding to institutions and claims it interfered with academic appointments. 'We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live,' a Merck employee wrote, according to an email excerpt read to the court by Julian Burnside QC, acting for the plaintiff."

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281 comments

Neutralized (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27714719)

The email, which came out in the Federal Court in Melbourne yesterday as part of a class action against the drug company, included the words 'neutralize,' 'neutralized,' or 'discredit' against some of the doctors' name

<blonde German baddie from Die Hard>
I don't want neutralize, I want dead.
</blonde German baddie from Die Hard>

Merck is an excellent company (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27714745)

I just want to say that Merck is an excellent company and has never done me wrong.

Re:Merck is an excellent company (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#27714791)

Mr Clarke, is that you?

Its been a long time since we've talked Richard, hows life going? Still got the fat belly I hope.

http://www.merck.com/about/executive_committee/rtc.html [merck.com]

Re:Merck is an excellent company (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715827)

Willie! [merck.com] It has been a long time. I see you're still trolling on slashdot. Fantastic, your people need to show the world you are capable of using the Web as well as any regular person.

Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claims (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27714747)

We've all seen the classic beer commercial. Some guy is bored and alone. Then he cracks open a beer and suddenly this amazing party materializes out of nowhere and bunch of adoring super-models surround the guy like he's the hottest guy on the planet.

Most of us recognize that this is a marketing fantasy. Sure, beer is often served at parties and there are often some attractive women at parties but the actual events depicted in such commercials are solidly in the realm of fantasy. More fundamentally, most of us recognize that the reason we are being shown the beer commercial is not because the beer company is devoted to improving our lives but instead because the CEO wants to increase profits so he can get his incentive bonus so he can buy his third mistress that second luxury vacation home she's been asking for. The CEO probably does see himself as a decent guy but, when you strip away the pretense, he's certainly not doing what he does out of pure altruism.

We've also all seen the classical antidepressant commercial. Some guy "hurts everywhere" and "everyone". Then he pops a couple cute little pills and "everywhere" and "everyone" magically stops hurting - whatever problems he may have had with his health or his career or his relationships or his dog are magically cured by those cute little pills.

Do most of us recognize that this is a marketing fantasy? Probably not. Sure, antidepressants are prescribed to people with depression and people do recover from depression. But the idea that a couple pills will solve every single problem you have in your life is solidly in the realm of fantasy. More fundamentally, the reason we are shown the antidepressant commercial is not because the pharmaceutical company is devoted to improving our lives but instead because the CEO wants to increase profits so he can get his incentive bonus so he can buy his third mistress that second luxury vacation home she's been asking for. The CEO probably does see himself as a decent guy but, when you strip away the pretense, he's certainly not doing what he does out of pure altruism.

So, getting back to the topic in this Slashdot article, people should look at such articles and wake up to the fact that pharmaceutical companies are not motivated by altruism - and that, furthermore, pharmaceutical will make whatever claims about their drugs that they think they can legally get away with. When a pharmaceutical company makes a "scientific" claim about one of their drugs, you can be sure that the claim has the bare minimum of actual scientific basis allowed by law.

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27714899)

"increase profits so he can get his incentive bonus so he can buy his third mistress that second luxury vacation home she's been asking for. The CEO probably does *see himself* as a *decent* guy"

Only in the US

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715189)

Oh, sure - that could never happen in some *other* country: only the US has lying bastards for CEO's. Idiot.

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (5, Interesting)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 4 years ago | (#27714967)

We've all seen the classic beer commercial. Some guy is bored and alone. Then he cracks open a beer and suddenly this amazing party materializes out of nowhere and bunch of adoring super-models surround the guy like he's the hottest guy on the planet.

Spookily enough, this is how they sold the doctors on the meds to begin with.

I worked as IT guy at a medical office for a number of years, and noticed that I'd never seen an ugly pharmaceutical rep. The reps sent to the doc's office were all pretty enough to drive most guys googoo, and I noticed even Doc was hanging on her every word. Later, I asked the office manager if that was common and actually WORKED. "Every time I'VE seen," she replied...

Since then, I've always wondered how many drugs were prescribed solely because of hooters.

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (4, Funny)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715077)

Obviously we need more gay doctors.

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715581)

To fix the gender inequality problems in the drug company rep business?

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (2, Insightful)

MrMarket (983874) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715803)

Obviously we need more gay doctors.

Why? To create more jobs for more gay PhRMA reps?

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (4, Interesting)

future assassin (639396) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715157)

My girlfriends family doctor is one of those doctors. She pushes anything that is pro pharma and has TONS of free samples for crazy amount of different drugs. When my girlfriend mentioned to her that I was looking to find a family doctor who was pro cannabis (Trying to get a license for my herniated disk) she got all up on my girlfriend how cannabis is bad and all that... but shes more then willing to give out some free pills for "beta' testing. Always wondered how much shes paid by the pharma companies.

Another thing I don't understand is how anyone could take a pill that spends more then half of the tv commercial talking about how many side effects there are and that rare occasional deaths can occur. WTF?

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (1)

SocratesJedi (986460) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715343)

Another thing I don't understand is how anyone could take a pill that spends more then half of the tv commercial talking about how many side effects there are and that rare occasional deaths can occur. WTF?

Every drug has side effects, some more noticeable than others. The simple fact is that we don't understand human biology well enough to predict or prevent all side effects while preserving the mechanism of action of the drug. As in engineering, it is a trade off: you exchange symptomatic and pathophysiologic relief for less severe symptoms due to adverse reactions to the drug. When adverse reaction to drugs exceeds the relief granted by them, they're typically discontinued on a patient-by-patient basis. The only way to avoid all side effects is stop taking drugs until human biology advances far enough to control for them all which will never occur in our lifetime.

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (4, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715837)

My brother's GF was a representative for a pharma company for a few years. She is quite good-looking, which helps in achieving your targets of course. She always had a trunk full of expensive gifts like coffee machines and other stuff to give to doctors to promote medicines. When I told her that in normal Dutch this is called bribery she was mad at me and told her the doctors actually have to do a lot to get those things. They have to give the company data on how the patients react to the drugs, something that the secretary can get out of her computer with a few keystrokes. Hard work indeed, for the doctor. Those doctors were also often invited to a tropical paradise to see presentations about new medicines. Of course they didn't have to pay for those trips.

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715591)

I worked at a pharmaceutical company on, among other things, the database to gather data on the representatives and their clients. We were pretty close to them because of this. I can confirm that what you say is very true.

All Ex Cheerleaders (5, Interesting)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715623)

A friend of mine was a rep for a larger company. She was an ex college cheerleader and they picked her up straight out of college, and with bonuses, she was making close to 80k in her second year. This didn't include all the expenses her company paid for - car, housing, gas, expense accounts for taking clients to dinner. And according to her, she was not unique in her history as a cheerleader, or her pay grade.

I saw the analytical software she had to gauge her performance against others in her region. It was mind-boggling how much data she had, how many prescriptions had been written by which doctor, doctors who hadn't purchased her brands yet, growth rates... and that seemed to be just the tip of the iceberg. But nowhere, nowhere did it tell her if patients had recovered or not, or if any of them had passed away. If they were dead, it was just the loss of one prescription.

She always talked about competing for growth rates, and the bonuses that it included. Basically, doctors who sold a lot of drugs were invited to gatherings in the Caribbean, expenses paid of course, where all of the top sales reps would also be enjoying the conference as well.

The whole thing was really sickening. I talked to one doctor that said he felt pressured to prescribe pills, not necessarily by the drug companies, but by his patients. They come in, malnourished, overweight, smoking, and not getting any exercise, and ask for help with their cholesterol. What he should tell them is that they need to stop smoking, prescribe an hour of exercise a day, and a new diet. Instead, he writes them a script, is one step closer to getting a free vacation, and his patients get to continue abusing themselves guilt free.

This is one of the many reasons we need to move to a system where the incentive is to keep people healthy instead of keeping them sick. As the baby boomers continue to age, this dogmatic adherence to the "free market" could quite possibly bankrupt us.

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (1)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715885)

The one and only time I went to a speed dating event, I got the list of women's ages (if they admitted it), their occupation, etc. I saw "pharmaceutical sales" on the list and before I ever got there, I told the friend I was going with, "I'll be able to pick out the pharma rep - she'll be the most attractive woman there"... and I was right.

There were other attractive women there, but the one that stood out from the crowd was the pharma rep.

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715963)

Yeah, my hottest cousin is a drug company rep.

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (4, Insightful)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715087)

We've also all seen the classical antidepressant commercial. Some guy "hurts everywhere" and "everyone". Then he pops a couple cute little pills and "everywhere" and "everyone" magically stops hurting - whatever problems he may have had with his health or his career or his relationships or his dog are magically cured by those cute little pills.

What? You guys really get ads like that in the States? I can't remember ever seeing an ad for prescription drugs - the very notion of advertising anti-depressants directly to consumers (particularly over the boob tube) is insane!

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715173)

We've also all seen the classical antidepressant commercial. Some guy "hurts everywhere" and "everyone". Then he pops a couple cute little pills and "everywhere" and "everyone" magically stops hurting - whatever problems he may have had with his health or his career or his relationships or his dog are magically cured by those cute little pills.

What? You guys really get ads like that in the States? I can't remember ever seeing an ad for prescription drugs - the very notion of advertising anti-depressants directly to consumers (particularly over the boob tube) is insane!

Oh yeah, lots of them - they probably make up about 30% of the advertising time now. Ever since the pharmaceutical companies figured out that there was no penalty for violating the restrictions on advertising for prescription medication they've flooded our airwaves with this crap.

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715449)

Every day, every channel ... I dare say every commercial break. "Ask your doctor about" this drug, that drug, some other drug. Anti-depressants, anti-cholesterol, arthritis pills, allergy pills... you name it. It's marketed directly to consumers.

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (4, Insightful)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715927)

The US, and until recently, NZ, were the only countries in the world where you are allowed to advertise a prescription medication. It, of course, leads to the absurdity of "Ask your doctor about {drug}" style ads, not "Discuss with your doctor the symptoms of your ailment", of course not. So people go into their doctors, "So I saw this ad, and I matched a couple of the things they mentioned, "feeling tired, run down"... "so can you write me a script for {drug}".

Mind blowing. Unbridled capitalism at its finest.

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (1)

Tweenk (1274968) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715149)

We've also all seen the classical antidepressant commercial.

I haven't. In my country, it is illegal to advertise prescription-only drugs in the TV, radio, newspapers and on outdoor billboards (not sure about the Internet). I think it should be this way everywhere, for the reasons mentioned in your post.

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715439)

(Anon because I've modded.) In Canada ads for prescription drugs are allowed, but only if they don't mention what the drug is for. This leads to subtle innuendo, like Viagra ads with telephone poles and fence posts everywhere. Antidepressent commercials invariably show happy people having picnics and pushing their kids on a swing for 20 seconds, followed by the list of side effects and the phrase "Ask your doctor about today!"

Re:Be Skeptical of Drug Company "Scientific" Claim (1)

nicklott (533496) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715223)

We've also all seen the classical antidepressant commercial

Actually, only Americans and New Zealanders have seen that (in the first world). They are the only two OECD countries that allow direct marketing of prescription drugs to consumers.

When big businesses get too big (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#27714749)

We see this over and over again. We saw it in HP where leadership was so arrogant that it thought it should be able to do the things it did overstepping boundaries. Critics must be silenced. This isn't about competition in the sense of making better, safer, more effective things. This is about competition of life versus death quite literally. They see the world as an opponent that must be controlled, misdirected or otherwise "neutralized." In short, they are sociopathic and should be legally marked and deemed as such.

Corporate Personhood (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27714917)

www.google.com/#q=corporate+personhood

www.reclaimdemocracy.org/personhood/

We believe that corporations are not persons and possess only the privileges we willfully grant them. Granting corporations the status of legal "persons" effectively rewrites the Constitution to serve corporate interests as though they were human interests. Ultimately, the doctrine of granting constitutional rights to corporations gives a thing illegitimate privilege and power that undermines our freedom and authority as citizens. While corporations are setting the agenda on issues in our Congress and courts, We the People are not; for we can never speak as loudly with our own voices as corporations can with the unlimited amplification of money.

Re:Corporate Personhood (3, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715225)

Also, basic reading into corporate personhood reveal that SCOTUS never even directly ruled on this idea. It's been accepted as fact ever since a clerk wrote a footnote into a ruling that said "The supreme court sees corporations as persons" or the like.

Someday, hopefully someone with a bankbook can work on challenging this and ACTUALLY getting it to the supreme court... when that court isn't full of corporate shills like Alito. I'm sure this "Strict Consitutionalist" won't remember that consitution writers didn't trust corporations (because of their dealings with the East India company) and were opposed of handing out corporate charters that didn't expire after a given period of time.

Re:When big businesses get too big (3, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715139)

Most people living today don't know the basic fact that corporations are "legal fictions" that require the government to exist. Corporations to many these days are some magical category that somehow exist on their own, and until we have a corporate rule type situation that the cyberpunk authors like to write about then we corporations really do require a government to issue them a charter.

I don't know if we have laws that make it hard to revoke a corporate charter, but if we do legislators can write laws to change that (good luck as corporate lobbyists have so much influence). Revoking a corporation's charter is the death penalty as applied to corporations and it has been an option that has been forgotten about. However, if you believe that certain persons are such a menace that capitol punishment is called for, how could you throw the same option away when it comes to corporations that are a menace to society or show themselves unable to follow the common law?

We ought to start thinking as a country about revocation of corporate charters.

Re:When big businesses get too big (1)

Tynam (1284066) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715437)

The problem is that it's easy to start a new corporation, with a new name and the same people running it. Charter revoked? No problem. Start a new one.

(Language Fascist side note: You mean capital punishment. Capitol punishment would be 'imprison everyone in D.C.' Which might not be such a bad idea, but I don't think it's what you meant.)

Re:When big businesses get too big (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715727)

"In short, they are sociopathic and should be legally marked and deemed as such."

That is true, however it overlooks a major reason why nothing is done about this kind of behavior. Ironically as business is such a competitive environment, sociopathic behavior provides a competitive advantage, so they naturally out compete their opponents and so fight their way to the top. Thats why we see this behavior at the top in business. But more importantly, this same behavior also applies equally to politics and they also write the laws.

The minority of people who seek political power over others (ultimately for their own gain) are the same kind of personality as the people who get to the top in business. That is why they don't see such behavior as wrong and as they fight to the top, the most sociopathic will resist and manipulate to prevent others less extreme in their party from bring in new controls to prevent such unfair behavior. As both business and politics are such competitive environments not all people in business and politics are this extreme, but the most extreme people do fight their way to the top. That is also why business and politics are so closely linked at the top. Money and Power.

A simple way to think about sociopathic behavior is that its an extreme form of Narcissistic behavior. They are totally self centered at the expense (often literally) of their opponents and/or victims.

This behavior is also repeated throughout history. For example, the emperors of Ancient Rome. Also the Nazis (especially Hitler and Himmler). In fact many leaders throughout history. We even see this behavior in some of what J. Edgar Hoover did. They all maneuver to seek to undermine their opponents often over years. This is also the goal of a whole area of politics called Opposition Research. Big Business also uses Opposition Research tactics.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_research [wikipedia.org]

Even when they cannot find information to use to undermine their opponents, then they will simply resort to lies and misinformation. A recent example of this was shown up in England (but these tactics are used in every country).
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8002085.stm [bbc.co.uk]

This minority in every society who seek money and power are ruthlessly determined to seek any way they can to undermine their most powerful opponents, at whatever level of money and power they are currently at and they always have competitors at their level of money and power. Everyone below them are powerless and so meaningless people to them and often easily exploitable. Its why so often the ones at the top have such little empathy to the ones below them. They are focused on seeking ever more money and power, so their focus is on the ones at their level and above as they seek to work with or against others with money and power, so that they can gain more money and power. These people really are incredibly ruthless people. Thankfully most people do not think like this, but unfortunately that also prevents most people fully understanding just how incredibly ruthless this minority of people are ultimately for their own gain.

Re:When big businesses get too big (1)

BlendieOfIndie (1185569) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715783)

We saw it in HP where leadership was so arrogant that it thought it should be able to do the things it did overstepping boundaries.

Way to be specific.

If you're gonna spread FUD, you should at least give some valid, specific references. If you said this about Enron your point would be obvious, but HP?

Oh boy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27714751)

Cue the 'More proof that medicine younger than 300 years old' is bad shtick from the alternate medicine/tinfoil crowds.

Re:Oh boy (2, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715113)

I'm all for science and technology, but there is something to be said about putting too much faith in new drugs and treatments.

I'm extremely skeptical of the HPV vaccine (GARDASIL) and completely against this retarded idea of inoculating every girl at the age of 13.

If you know anything about their 'trials' for ensuring its safe you would be too.

We simply do not know enough about the long term effects of these things to go around giving it to people without reason. With stupid states attempting to make it legislation to do so it scares the piss out of me.

If we're talking about a drug that may save the life of someone with a known health issue, thats one thing, but giving people drugs for minor problems or giving people drugs for problems they don't yet have and can be avoided in other ways is just stupid until we have real world data NOT PROVIDED BY SOMEONE WITH A VESTED INTEREST IN THE SALE OF THE DRUG.

If a person has cancer and a month to live and we have a treatment that will let them live another year but don't know the side effects I'm all for it.

If a person hasn't got a health issue but live in an environment that they are sure to end up with a major health issue that makes their life expectancy extremely short, and we have a drug that will extend that life expectancy but may have effects after that, I'll consider it.

If a person hasn't got a health issue, isn't really likely to end up with a health issue, and we really have no idea what the drug to prevent a health issue will do to them in 10 years or more, then you can fuck off if you want to inject me or mine with it until we have more data. You can give it to yours all you want, and if you happen to end up sterile then nature has done its job. Me and mine will feel sympathy for you, but we won't lose any sleep at night as yours die out.

As I said, I love technology and the advances we've made, but I also know enough about the history of medicine to know that a lot of shit we've come up with isn't nearly as great as we once thought it was.

A treatment for Malaria in mosqutoe infested jungles that has some side effects is good.

Drinking irradiated water because it gives you 'energy and is refreshing' is insanely stupid.

We've done both you know, and knew little of their side effects until well after they were in heavy use.

Re:Oh boy (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715323)

Vaccines are usually given before the infection because they work by preparing the immune system for the pathogen, in many cases a vaccine becomes pointless once the subject is infected because then the immune system will train itself on the live pathogen and giving it training dummies won't do anything anymore.

Re:Oh boy (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715737)

The HPV vaccine is there to combat THE LEADING CAUSE OF CANCER DEATHS IN WOMEN.

Actually no, it's there to combat the leading cause of cancer deaths in women (cervical cancer) and some close contenders.

Cervical cancers that can strike and kill 20-year-olds depriving them of 50 good years of life. HPV related cervical cancers that strike and estimated 10,000 women a year (on the low end) in the US. How many times deadlier is that than Iraq and Afghanistan?

I think it's much closer to mosquito control in it's potential positive impact than irradiated water. If you were listening to objective sources who spoke as loud and stridently as the anti-vax sources (or anti-woman church sources) you would easily see that. But somehow you have allowed yourself to be deceived and are passing that crime along.

Duh ? (4, Informative)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715777)

Long term effect of vaccination ? How about the same as long term effect as other vaccination ? You are not introducing PERMANENTLY something in the system, the vaccination product may well be flushed rather quickly out of the system. You are teaching the immune system to react to a specific part of what youa re immunizing against. I am not a biologist, but looks to me you are confusing long term effect of a chemical in the body (like for example AZT) with long term effect of the immune system being able to recognize a foreign host...

Re:Oh boy (2, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715321)

Oversimplifying much? Today's medicine is way cool. One just has to make a difference between scientific medicine and corporate driven business.

Best practice for a doctor: (2, Interesting)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 4 years ago | (#27714755)

If you're a doctor, don't say anything about any drug. If you praise a drug, you'll look like a shill. If you slam a drug, you'll... well, probably get killed.

Just stay out of it, even if it means you make $100,000 less every year. Getting involved is a lose/lose.

Re:Best practice for a doctor: (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#27714803)

Brilliant. Doctors should keep their trap shut whether a medicine is any good.

Re:Best practice for a doctor: (0)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 4 years ago | (#27714831)

Doctors should still prescribe medications which fit the problem (duh), but they should neither outwardly praise medicines nor slam them.

Re:Best practice for a doctor: (3, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#27714869)

Publishing papers, commenting on them, are these too "outwardly"?

Re:Best practice for a doctor: (1)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 4 years ago | (#27714901)

If you have the scientific research to back your assertion then no, it's fine. I was just referring to doctors who voice their opinions.

Re:Best practice for a doctor: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27714945)

Why should I need to have someone spend hundreds of thousands (at least) on research to merely question some aspect of a previously published paper?

Re:Best practice for a doctor: (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#27714987)

Anyways, I write code for living, and Perl sucks. Who's with me?! :-)

Re:Best practice for a doctor: (3, Funny)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715359)

Larry Wall has just sent out a memo to "unlink" you.

Re:Best practice for a doctor: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715435)

you have my sword

Re:Best practice for a doctor: (4, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715001)

Yep. Much of the doctor to doctor advertising is on the basis of "Dr. So and So at the University thinks this is a great drug". No facts, just opinion, and typically money under the table. Or even money up front and center.

For years doctors seemed to be under the allusion that they were protected from advertising's nefarious psychological hooks because "we're smart". That nonsense is being completely and thoroughly debunked as these sorts of blantant maneuvering and lying on the behalf of Big Pharma become more apparent. More and more (although still a minority, unfortunately) of physicians don't let drug reps near them. And this sort of behavior is accelerating the trend.

It will take another half generation or so of new docs to come up through the ranks with a very jaundiced view of drug company advertising. But it will happen. And the Big Pharma knows it. Which is why they are so keen to push direct to consumer advertising.

Follow the money. Corporations always do.

Sounds mafia-esc (1)

Ken Broadfoot (3675) | more than 4 years ago | (#27714773)

"We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live."

Tony Soprano must own this drug company in Australia.

Or kinda of Bush-Cheney-ish.

"Fight them there so we don't have to fight them here"

Mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27714825)

Perhaps the drug companies are taking ideas from their Mexican counterparts? I guess we need another fence along the border. This time, though, the border is Merck headquarters...

Re:Sounds mafia-esc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715383)

"We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live."

Combined with the " words 'neutralize,' 'neutralized,' " the doctors better start carrying automatic weapons in the case of a meeting with those nasty Merck mercks.

Drugs Are Bad, mmmkay? (1, Insightful)

TheFlannelAvenger (870106) | more than 4 years ago | (#27714785)

I hope I never get sick, or if I do, that I die quick. Health Care in the USA is the disease.

Re:Drugs Are Bad, mmmkay? (4, Interesting)

j. andrew rogers (774820) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715207)

Here is the conundrum:

Pharmaceutical and other medical research companies in the US semi-routinely engage in questionable behavior, obviously a bad thing that is enabled by the existence of the Byzantine private healthcare market of the United States. Simultaneously, the vast majority of global medical research, 60-70%, is done in the US and is significantly enabled by the fact that you can recoup costs because the healthcare market is more competitive (albeit perversely) due to the semi-private nature of the market. It is one of the reasons many new medical treatments and diagnostics are available in the US first.

So here is the problem: on one hand the US healthcare market is a byzantine mess where a lot of questionable practices can occur, but on the other hand this same mess also enables most of the world's medical innovation to occur. Much of the rest of the industrialized world is a free rider on the ugly mess that is US healthcare when it comes to innovation and R&D investment. It might be nice to adopt, say, European-style healthcare systems in theory, but can we afford it at the price of relative technological stagnation because all the profit motive has been removed from the development of that technology since the US is the last major market where a legitimate profit can be extracted?

Profit motive is a double-edged sword, and in healthcare is no exception. But I think far too many people, particularly people used to socialized medicine, abhor the ugly side of such things while failing to recognize that they also benefit mightily from it. Even Americans benefit from it in some significant ways despite the unacceptably high costs, such as having the highest cancer survival rates in the world, markedly higher than many western industrialized countries. There needs to be a way to get the benefits without throwing out the innovation baby with the bathwater, which strictly socializing US medicine would do by all empirical evidence. The stark differences in the level of investment in medical advancements by various countries is hard to ignore, and I generally consider such investment to be a good thing.

I don't see this... (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715747)

The drug companies obviously like the US situation because they could make more money than they could otherwise

Certainly the government under a public healthcare system would have a degree of buyers' monopoly (monopsony). Prices would go down, and they wouldn't rake in as much, true.

However, I suspect that, while Pharma's profits would be driven down, they wouldn't be driven down enough to force Pharma completely out of business.
So, assuming that the US and the other holdouts went UHC, I'd suspect that staying in drug-development and making some money would be better for them than quitting the business and making *nothing*.

The money spent on government healthcare has to go *somewhere*. The drug/device makers, the doctors, will still get something. Only the insurance company people would necessarily be cut out of the picture.

Fascist corepirate Adobe Liesense exposed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27714807)

13. Compliance with Licenses.
If you are a business, company, or organization, you agree that, no more than once every 12 months, Adobe or its authorized representative shall, upon 10 days prior notice to you, have the right to inspect your records, systems, and facilities to verify that your use of any and all Adobe software is in conformity with your valid licenses from Adobe. If a verification discloses that your use is not in conformity with a valid license, you shall immediately obtain valid licenses to bring your use into conformity.

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27714829)

Say we the people make a public hit-list of these greedy motherfuckers...

Re:I for one... (1)

ColePEET (861091) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715259)

I'm totally down for this. The world has gone global, time for revolution to go global I think. I'd say execute the top 25% of the following companies, for a start. Oil Tanker Manufacturers. Oil Producing Companies Automobile Manufacturers Large Bond Trading Firms

How hard is PR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27714879)

When your company makes products that save people's lives, in huge numbers, how hard is it to have good public relations? Sure people hate cooperate profits, but for a drug company it's easy to say "our profits are driving R&D for the next generation of drugs." These companies still find all sorts of creative ways to screw it up anyway.

Re:How hard is PR? (4, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715079)

"our profits are driving R&D for the next generation of drugs."

They DO say that. They routinely say that when criticized about their astronomical profit margins. Problem is, it's a lie. R&D is an expense. Since when do you pay your corporate expenses out of your profits? Profits are counted AFTER expenses. Essentially they're trying to get their expenses counted twice.

Re:How hard is PR? (1)

Tweenk (1274968) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715185)

Mod parent insightful. Same goes for movies: "Hollywood accounting" is a term for unethical accounting measuers to reduce reported profit for a reason.

Re:How hard is PR? (3, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715369)

Its easy if they are, more often than not their profits drive salaries of executives.

Universities are often the ones driving research and innovation, which promptly gets patented by companies like Merck and Glaxo.

Its funny, I pay taxes so things can be researched, and then I lose the right to control the items I paid to research.

Ttaff? (1)

enrgeeman (867240) | more than 4 years ago | (#27714893)

Ttaff? staff? Or is this a new strain of the pig flu that is killing mexican doctors, in the war on doctors without enthusiasm?

I hope ... (2, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#27714907)

... that Australian law allows them to ream Merck out for this kind of behavior. Specifically, attacking another's professional reputation. In some places (States in the USA) its considered a violation of the professional code of ethics that can cause one to lose a license to practise certain professions (engineering, for example). But in the US, its rare to see any penalties imposed. Only in cases where actual financial damages can be proven (in spite of the fact that licensing laws impose no such requirement).

As medical professionals rely heavily on reputation for their livelihood, it would be nice to see this taken seriously. Interesting note: The only group that seems to be successful in having such regulations enforced in the US are lawyers (as in having web sites that rate lawyers taken down).

Ethics? (1)

Vengance Daemon (946173) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715117)

Here in the USA we don't use the word "ethics" in any discussion about pharmaceutical companies, doctors, hospitals, or medicine in general unless it is coupled with the words "no" or "none whatsoever" or "give me all your money and then die."

Re:I hope ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715515)

Specifically, attacking another's professional reputation. In some places (States in the USA) its considered a violation of the professional code of ethics that can cause one to lose a license to practise certain professions (engineering, for example).

Really? That is bizarre. An engineer can't say that engineer X is incompetent, a disgrace to the engineering profession and is constructing buildings that are unsafe, don't follow the building code, and will fall down in a few years?

I think most people would say there is a strong societal interest in encouraging engineers to point out flaws, errors & negligence.

Re:I hope ... (1)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715859)

Theres an even stronger interest in discrediting the competition through falsehoods.

is anybody surprised, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27714931)

Heaven forbid these drug-taking plaintiffs would ever take something harmless and far more effective, like marijuana...
 
I wonder how many people have died from Celebrex, Vioxx, NSAIDs.

Not that surprised: The Truth About Drug Companies (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27714971)

I am really not that surprised. There is a great book out there written by a former New England Journal of Medicine editor-in-chief, Marcia Angell, called, The Truth About Drug Companies. (amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Truth-About-Drug-Companies-Deceive/dp/0375760946/ref=ed_oe_p). The book touches on the fact that drug companies do these kinds of things to Dr.s who disagree with them.

Kind of off topic, but, among other things the book points out is that they're justification for high R&D costs is absurd. They mainly buy out small bio-tech companies or buy rights from academia / organizations who originally develop block buster drugs.

It's a great read. for those of you to lazy to get your hands on the book (forgot how to read) youtube has some videos up of her lecturing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouF3ISihHLM

Big Pharma is evil, but... (4, Interesting)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715005)

My mother was taking Vioxx regularly when the whole scandal broke. She immediately went to the pharmacist to get as much of the stuff as she could before it got taken off the market. The other drugs didn't really do it for her. Arthritis sucks, and as a dentist, it has a huge impact on your ability to do your job.

Yeah, it might kill you, but on the other hand, it's about quality of life.

Re:Big Pharma is evil, but... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715097)

Yep, I too was on Vioxx.

I was 21 years old and still had a 3 month supply when the cuffuffle broke. My Doc told me to continue on taking it until all I had was gone, then he would prescribe me something else.

Re:Big Pharma is evil, but... (1)

ColePEET (861091) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715395)

a 21 year old on anti-arthritis medicine?

Re:Big Pharma is evil, but... (4, Interesting)

V50 (248015) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715237)

Yep, my uncle was on Vioxx, and it was about the only thing that seemed to work for him. When the whole "Vioxx will kill you" thing broke, it was pretty devastating for him, not because he was concerned with having a heart attack or stroke, but because now the only thing that was working for him in dealing with his arthritis was unavailable.

I don't think he outright said it, but I really got the impression that, given a choice, he'd gladly take the risks because his arthritis was so bad, and the Vioxx worked very well.

Re:Big Pharma is evil, but... (4, Interesting)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715497)

People have a really bizarre inability to really accept things outside their experience.

For children, when they start driving, they think they are unstoppable. The drive fast or drink and drive simply because they have not personally seen the consequences.

After a while, you start seeing how much you can get hurt if you jump from a roof into a pool and you start thinking twice, but until then nothing can stop you.

Instead of hiding smoking or pretending it was OK, my mom tried to quit repeatedly, complained about how pathetic and weak she was, how they controlled her and how she couldn't stop spending money on them. She stopped for a year once, but went back. I think I can remember at least 6 serious efforts to stop, but in the end it killed her.

If you could really grok that before you picked up your first cigarette, you would be physically incapable of smoking it.

We like to think that we make our own decisions and we do so with the information we have in a way that benefits us, but really we are manipulated easily. FOX news knows how to pull the strings of a type of person to manipulate their feelings, chemical addictions can completely and deeply change how you feel about many things, etc.

The point is, these people say it's a quality of life issue simply because they aren't able to comprehend the fact that they could die tomorrow.

If someone were able to actually say with certainty that "if you keep taking that pill, you will die in 2 weeks, otherwise you will live for 15 years", they would stop. From there it's just a matter of odds.

Hell, what if they said "If you keep taking that pill, you will die in 10 years, otherwise you will die in 15"? Well, right now some might actually say "I'll keep taking it", speaking for that person in 9 3/4 years who may answer VERY differently-- again a human inability to logically analyze the situation and come to an honest conclusion.

Re:Big Pharma is evil, but... (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715347)

Which is a good point. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

This is about a company trying to shut up doctors who didn't like their product. There is nothing wrong with deciding to take the risk, but first you ought to KNOW the risk.

Re:Big Pharma is evil, but... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715371)

The sad thing is that Vioxx isn't that dangerous. The problem is that Merck's behavior is very dangerous.

If the company hadn't decided to lie about it and fight tooth and nail to and discredit everyone, it could easily be on the market today. Just not to really old people, smokers, or other people with high risk factors for heart attacks. And the doctor would hopefully let you know that the pain in your chest might not be heartburn, increasing the probability you'd realize you're having a heart attack and call 911 before you keel over.

Re:Big Pharma is evil, but... (1)

ColePEET (861091) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715421)

Than advertise it as such. People love to take things that improve their life and kill them at the same time, look at cigarettes for example. If they just had the balls to tell the truth Vioxx would probably still be for sale and would probably be having ridiculous amazing sales.

Re:Big Pharma is evil, but... (2, Informative)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715423)

There exists a great deal of genetic polymorphism with regard to drug efficacy and side-effects. Individuals have differing capabilites for metabolizing a drug, which leads to some people being able to tolerate higher doses than others.

In fear of lawsuits, pharma companies are quick to withdraw drugs from the market if serious side-effects surface. This has happened with a number of efficient drugs, such as rimonabant [wikipedia.org] , an appetite suppressant that was pulled from the market in Europe for increased suicide risk. Even though the drug worked for a lot of people, Sanofi-Aventis saw that keeping the drug on the market wasn't worth the risk.

The issue of side-effects may be resolved with the aid of pharmacogenetics, which will hopefully help identify the capacity of patients to benefit from a drug and tolerate its side-effects. Then it wouldn't matter if we have drugs on the market that cause ill effects to a certain group of people, because doctors would be able to cross-reference a patient's genome for genetic polymorphisms with regard to a drug, and only prescribe drugs with known side-effects to patients that can handle them.

Re:Big Pharma is evil, but... (1)

Excelcior (1390167) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715485)

Arthritis sucks, and as a dentist, it has a huge impact on your ability to do your job.

The thing I find most fascinating about your comment is that I'm not the only Dental /.er!

Re:Big Pharma is evil, but... (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715561)

Clarification: I'm not a dentist, my mother is. So you are the only dental /.er. ;-)

Name... (2, Funny)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715017)

Philip K Dickhead sends in a piece from the Australian media, a couple of weeks old, that hasn't seen much discussion here.

I'm not sure I'd like to discuss anything submitted by 'Philip K Dickhead'.

Re:Name... (1)

ColePEET (861091) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715325)

I'll hold the stick, you watch the carrot. Your obviously very, very, immeasurably good at concentrating on the flawed yet irrelevant instead of the completely rotten and horribly, terrifyingly relevant.

"..but the company admitted no wrongdoing." (5, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715037)

Does anyone else besides me see the common practice of coming to a settlement with no admission that the corporation did anything wrong is a really, really bad thing. I don't know if the fact that this is tacked on to every major settlement has to do with the fact that these corporations are massive concentrations of power and money that the legal systems aren't designed to deal with or if it's just greedy plaintiffs or a combination of both. If we could get companies to actually admit guilt in some of these cases, would it head off crap like this anyways?

Re:"..but the company admitted no wrongdoing." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715349)

Does anyone else besides me see the common practice of coming to a settlement with no admission that the corporation did anything wrong is a really, really bad thing.

No. It means that there are many lawsuits that are cheaper to settle than to fight, even if you are 100% right.

You might recall the crazy judge [wikipedia.org] in Washington DC who sued a dry cleaner for over $50 million dollars for a pair of pants. At one point the dry cleaners offered $12,000 to the crazy judge to settle, drop the suit and go away. The judge refused, and eventually the judge lost in court. The dry cleaner had spent enormous amounts of money fighting the stupid lawsuit, and is unlikely to get any of that back.

That is why people often settle lawsuits - it's cheaper & easier. They don't want to admit liability since that will encourage more nuts to come out of the woodwork and sue.

Now, that is a generic statement, and doesn't apply in all cases.

Part of the problem (-1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715063)

Today, if you do not receive the results you expect from a product - be it medicine or a piece of electronics - there are lawyers that will be glad to help you sue the manufacturer. You aren't happy, so why should anyone else be, right?

One basic problem in the US is the way the health care system is organized when compared to other countries. The US health care system is intended to prevent people from dying. The rest of the world's health care system is not. Until you realize that, you don't understand health care in the US. The rest of the world came to terms a long time ago with the idea that people die and there is little or no point in expending vast resources on them - they are going to die.

The US is one of the most popular health care destinations for elderly people, especially those with lots of money, because of this difference. In most countries a person with serious, chronic medical conditions that will undoubtably lead to death in short order are not given expensive treatments to put off the fact they person is going to die. Often after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars the person's death is delayed by less than a year. Not a good business proposition.

The difference is that in other countries everyone is paying the bill - how do you justify to all the young people that the bulk of their money is going to support someone that is going to die anyway. And all you are doing is putting off that death for a short time. No, in the US the insurance companies are paying and they do not answer to voters or public opinion. They are also well aware of the philosophy of death in the US and that people expect treatement, even when there is little to be gained.

So some elderly person takes a drug and dies. The truth of the matter is they were dying anyway. Did the drug contribute to their death? Or was it their lifestyle, cigarette habit, drinking and everything else that finally did them in? To a doctor the question can be very difficult if not impossible to accurately answer. To a class-action lawyer the answer is obvious. TO a jury that can either "stick it to the Man" or not the question is pretty simple as well. The legal system is a lottery and it feels a lot better to have a winner than a loser.

Does Vioxx cause death? Maybe. If the specific formulation of the drug is to blame then why are other drugs with virtually the same formulation still on the market with warnings? Why didn't those drugs also get removed from the market - with similar numbers of deaths behind them as well?

It's a lottery and there are winners and losers. Merck lost. Too bad, I guess.

People in the US want to live forever and have been convinced by the health care system that it is possible. Until we start denying care to everyone over, say 50 years of age, the US will not be moving to any sort of "universal single-payer health care." The way health care is done in the US is just too expensive and nearly all of the money is spent in the last year of life. If you exclude neonatal care, then the figure is more like 99% of all health care spending is in the last year of life.

Re:Part of the problem (2, Insightful)

ColePEET (861091) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715209)

Does Vioxx cause death? Maybe. If the specific formulation of the drug is to blame then why are other drugs with virtually the same formulation still on the market with warnings? Why didn't those drugs also get removed from the market - with similar numbers of deaths behind them as well? Maybe? Virtually? The difference of ONE FUCKING MOLECULE is the difference between medicine and poison. So basically you are saying people clinging on to life with the tenacity that almost all humans display is the real cause of all the evils in the world. Man, I don't even know what to write, my mind recoils at the twistedness of this post. "It's a lottery and there are winners and losers. Merck lost. Too bad, I guess." Heres the problem right here, not old people. Its a lottery, every now and then the capitalist system needs someone to throw to the masses. Appease the plebs. Distract them from the fact that every company is 100% corrupt, by "catching" one of them every so often.

Re:Part of the problem (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715415)

Ignorance is bliss, isn't it?

Re:Part of the problem (1)

ColePEET (861091) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715705)

One of the most horrible truisms imaginable. Same with "the good die young" or "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Re:Part of the problem (2, Insightful)

Tweenk (1274968) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715315)

Until we start denying care to everyone over, say 50 years of age, the US will not be moving to any sort of "universal single-payer health care."

Yeah, let's ignore human rights, the meaning humanity, and revert to what amounts to barbarism... This proposition reads like something taken straight from a dystopian novel. I'm not defending the fight for a few more months of life no matter the cost, but your idea is way overboard.

Never heard that one before. (5, Informative)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715919)

I don't sense much bias in your comment, (for which you are to be congratulated), but I do take exception with some of your statements.

Living in Canada, I've known numerous older people, (over 60) who receive excellent health care. Elaborate heart surgeries and such. Nobody seems to think that they're being given second rate care or that preferential treatment is being given to younger people. I've never even heard that idea floated until you brought it up just now. My grandfather is in his 80's and two years ago he was treated successfully for cancer. He's still quite active for a very old dude, and he has a lot of respect for his doctors.

Just FYI.

-FL

The name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715111)

Philip K Dickhead sends in a piece.....

Dickhead... too funny!

Someone made the decision to make that hitlist. (3, Insightful)

ColePEET (861091) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715297)

What about that? Who would have that authority at Merck? The CEO? The hit-list didn't just appear, it was a plan put into action. Who put it into action? Some one made a decision. The world needs to track down and execute the people who make these decisions.

Re:Someone made the decision to make that hitlist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715479)

I came here to post a similar sentiment. "Drug Company" didn't make the hitlist, people did. When truly horrible things like this happen, I want to see names. I want to know that anytime they apply for a job, an HR rep is going to Google them and find out that they found it acceptable to make a hitlist of people who disagreed with them.

Re:Someone made the decision to make that hitlist. (1)

ColePEET (861091) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715651)

So what? Can the guy/guys/girls responsible? Badmouth them on google? That's fair punishment? How about an eye for a fucking eye. I'm curious, how can you think a life like that is worth allowing continuing to exist? And don't give me no yuppie Nuremburg bullshit about following orders. Like theres an email. "seek them out blah blah." emails have a from and a to field. Find from. Hang him. Find to. Hang him. Then, find everyone above from and to in the corporate hierarchy and hang them. Gross negligence causing physical harm = capital offense in my opinion. Or, if killings' too salty for you, well, corporations exist and are owned by people, and corporations are persons. Well that means slavery is still legal, seeing how one person owns another. So therefore people who commit physical harm against another should be commited to slavery, and owned by the victim. All the employees, everyone involved, they should forfeit there lives in the service of those whose lives they maliciously and knowingly destroyed. And if they run, then hang them.

The only thing surprising (1)

Akita24 (1080779) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715327)

is that any physician would do anything besides read the propaganda from the pharma co and dispense the new drug like popcorn to their patients for a kickback. Oh wait, this was in Oz .. Never mind.

Re:The only thing surprising (1)

ColePEET (861091) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715711)

Its exceedingly rare but there is still good in the world.

Criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27715467)

We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live

If they're threatening physical harm, isn't this considered assault? Last I checked, that was a criminal offense. And if they're threatening to discredit the individuals professionally rather than resort to personal violence in retaliation, that's still defamation.

The employees and policymakers involved should be locked up.

Reminds me of Michael Clayton (2, Interesting)

moxley (895517) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715875)

This sort of thing reminds me of the way the company in "Michael Clayton" behaves, (great film BTW).

I wiah that sort of thing was a fantasy and that it could be said that such things are exaggerations and never happen - but when it come to millions or billions of dollars at stake these multinational companies are sometimes willing to do extremely unethical things, including murder - we certainly have seen cases of attempts to cover up negligence where numerous people have been killed as a result of faulty products.

Even if Merck didn't actually have anybody killed here, and even if they claim that isn't what they meant by "neutralize," - destroying someone's life and credibility because they are trying to tell the world the truth about what their research has shown is just about as bad.

As corporations and governments are becoming more intertwined I expect we'll see more of this.

It seems like sociopaths tend to make it far in corporate society - something about being able to do what it takes to rise to that level in the cutthroat world of business seems to fit the the sociopathic personality.

Any company that gets caught doing this sort of thing, even if it's found out after the fact should be destroyed - it's assets should be divided properly among shareholders and employees who are clean of any taint from such a scandal....

Re:Reminds me of Michael Clayton (1)

ColePEET (861091) | more than 4 years ago | (#27715969)

Exactly that. Companies can break the law, and they are people now, so why don't they have corporate prison? Too big to fail just lines right up with corporate interests. We can do whatever we want, laws merely exist to keep the plebes away from guns so they can never stop us. And we're too big to fail so we'll get away with it.
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