Rebuilding Merck's Tarnished Image

No big surprise after last month's sudden departure of longtime chairman, president and CEO Raymond V. Gilmartin that controversial drugmaker Merck would take steps to rehabilitate its tarnished image.

Funny thing is, this worldwide pharmaceutical powerhouse based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., claims their campaign to restore credibility to its brand is the first in the company's 114-year history (I'm sure it's not the last either), and was in the works long before the debacle named Vioxx.

And Merck has invested $20 million in the ad campaign -- set to run in 40 magazines, national newspapers, the Net, radio and TV -- that should reach more than 90 percent of Americans in hopes of building stronger emotional ties between the mega-drugmaker and consumers, according to a company spokesperson.

Do you think it's possible, logical or even reasonable Merck could possibly buy back any of its alleged reputation, especially after Vioxx was reapproved for distribution in this country by a panel stacked full of experts with obvious conflicts of interest?

The Vioxx debacle is one of the biggest stories I've followed since starting this newsletter in 1997, yet the media -- save for a few outlets like the New York Times -- has not given it the attention it truly deserves. That's why I'm so stubbornly focused on my vision for reforming the existing health care paradigm, from one built on drug-based cures to a model that treats the rue causes of disease.

New York Times June 2, 2005 Registration Required

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