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The Latest ''Vioxx Scandal'' Harms Your Pets

Watching the Vioxx debacle play out in Congress and the U.S. Court system, you'd think the mega-drugmakers would've learned their lesson about bringing another toxic painkiller to market. Not so, according to this awesome MSNBC/Washington Post piece (free text link below) about Deramaxx, a toxic anti-inflammatory NSAID prescribed to nearly a million dogs over the past two years.

Even though reports of Deramaxx's toxicity hit the marketplace shortly after its debut four years ago, Novartis Animal Health didn't report those findings for a while and, eventually, the FDA got around to issuing a formal warning and a reprimand. But that hasn't stopped Norvartis from selling its toxic drug -- one that is closely related to Vioxx -- to veterinarians and potentially harming or killing your dog.

There was also conflict from within the FDA about Deramaxx that spurred the actions of another agency whistleblower, Victoria Hampshire, who testified in the Senate last fall about 350 deaths linked to the NSAID drug. Like Dr. David Graham, however, Hampshire was very much on her own: "Nobody wanted to believe I was just doing my job. They wanted to think I was off on my own agenda. I think a lot of people didn't want to hear what I was saying."

The sad part about this story: Many veterinarians refuse to share information about the drugs they prescribe with pet owners, and the American Veterinary Medical Association strongly supports their position.

MSNBC/Washington Post May 11, 2006

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