Individual Choice and Vioxx

I mentioned in this post on individual choice the example of the FDA risk-reward decisions for Americans as a whole, an impossible task when each individual's needs and decision making are different (also see here).  This is a couple of weeks old, but is a good article from USAToday about the millions of people who are suffering in the wake of Vioxx's removal from the market. 

Sales of the drug were halted worldwide on Sept. 30, after a study showed it doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke. But, for Rubinstein, relief trumps risk.

Vioxx "was the best pain drug I had been on in 27 years," says the 47-year-old Manhattan resident, who has fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes pain in muscles and joints. "I felt good enough to do some exercise. Getting to work was not such a difficult thing.

These people would gladly accept the increased risk of heart problems to reduce their debilitating pain, if only the government and/or the courts would allow them to make this choice.  (yes, I know that Vioxx was pulled by the maker, but this is only anticipation of a tort system that punishes the manufacturer for informed choices made by individual users).

Update:

This is a good post from Cafe Hayek on presecription drugs and individual choice

  • dearieme

    Wouldn't a useful advance be to categorise all drugs into three groups like traffic lights - green, amber, red. Green would correspond to the current levels of FDA approval, amber would mean that there were known bad side-effects like those you mention, but that the patient can make his own informed choice, and red would mean "on your own head be it".

  • michael hammond

    The pharmaceutical industry makes billions of dollars drugging school children and this is a form of genocide: condemning millions of young lives to a drug addicted future. They employ “experts” and lobbyist and hire ex FDA personnel and retired congressman to get pro-drug legislation passed. Newspapers and magazines receive billions of dollars a year in advertising, and investment firms make big bucks touting the latest snake oil; so it would be a rare article indeed that went against Big Pharma. The industry is motivated by the bottom line and shareholders not Science. A Google search of Ritalin and Cocaine, Prozac, chemical imbalance, school shootings, will show even the most skeptical that something is horribly wrong when 6 million school children ( plans are in place to increase this by 40% each year) are on anti-depressant drugs prescribed to handle “disorders” created to sell the drugs. Now after the Texas Vioxx decision Big Pharma's stooges are flooding their editorial outlets ( USA Today, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal) with demands that the government protect the drug companies. Michael

    PS The decision by the Texas jury was rendered because the defendant couldn’t explain its faulty “science” to the common man. Something that contains lies is very hard to explain as it gets very complicated whereas that which is true is simple and easy to explain.