Memo suggested reformulating Vioxx to reduce risks

Even as Merck sought to downplay any cardiovascular risks associated with Vioxx, researchers were considering ways to reformulate the drug to lessen the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In an internal memo written in 2000 and mistakenly provided to plaintiffs' attorneys, researchers said that the way that Vioxx worked to reduce pain might be increasing cardiovascular risks and suggested adding another compound that could alter that equation. The memo came after Merck was forced to defend the Cox-2 inhibitor, insisting that the use of naproxen in a study had skewed safety results. Attorneys say the memo could play a key role in bolstering plaintiffs' arguments that the drug giant knowingly promoted Vioxx despite being aware of the risk to consumers.

- read this report from the Boston Globe for more