The story I’m going to tell today begins just before the turn of the century. The year is 1999 and Merck has brought a new pain killer onto the market called Vioxx. According to a paper published in the British Medical Journal, since the early development of Vioxx some scientists at Merck were concerned that the drug might adversely affect the cardiovascular system. Despite Merck’s knowledge that Vioxx might increase blood clot formation, none of the intervention studies it did for the FDA in 1998 were designed to evaluate cardiovascular risk. So let’s think about this for a minute. Merck’s own scientists, while developing this new drug, say this could be bad for the heart, it could be bad for the cardiovascular system. So Merck made the decision to NOT evaluate the cardiovascular risk of that drug in its new drug application to the FDA. And let’s see how that turned out.