Stop, Look and Listen

October 1, 2005
Gurminder Marwaha

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, Pharmaceutical Technology Europe-10-01-2005, Volume 17, Issue 10

One of the most important skills any editor must possess is the ability to listen to their audience — without feedback, we don't get an opportunity to develop our publications; to not act on feedback shows plain ignorance. I must, therefore, give my personal thanks to the many hundreds of readers who participated in the Pharmaceutical Technology Europe (PTE) editorial and readership survey, which we conducted earlier this summer. Your comments and opinions will help us develop PTE, and we already have a number of exciting plans for 2006. Stay tuned!

One of the most important skills any editor must possess is the ability to listen to their audience — without feedback, we don't get an opportunity to develop our publications; to not act on feedback shows plain ignorance. I must, therefore, give my personal thanks to the many hundreds of readers who participated in the Pharmaceutical Technology Europe (PTE) editorial and readership survey, which we conducted earlier this summer. Your comments and opinions will help us develop PTE, and we already have a number of exciting plans for 2006. Stay tuned!

Gurminder Marwaha

Staying with this year, however, you will have noticed PTE's new editorial advisory board (EAB) members. An EAB is crucial to any magazine or journal wanting to publish factually accurate features that help shape and develop the industry in which it serves — and this magazine is no different. I now have the opportunity to thank those who served on the previous EAB for their input; I would also like to publicly welcome my new EAB members, who are all internationally recognized experts.

Onto more immediate matters and life doesn't look rosy for Merck after a US jury found the drugs' manufacturer, negligent when a patient (Robert Ernst) died suddenly whilst on Vioxx. This case has serious repercussions because it is now likely to open the floodgates for other users to sue. Perhaps we are going to start seeing a trend whereby the patient power that exists in the US will manifest itself to Europe. According to reports (bbc.co.uk) it has been estimated that Vioxx could have caused almost 28000 heart attacks or deaths since it was approved for use in 1999, and more than 4200 lawsuits have been filed against the firm over the drug. Some analysts have calculated that the Vioxx episode may represent a liability of as much as $18 billion. The company has reportedly set aside $675?million to fight Vioxx suits.

After the ruling, Merck's attorney, Jonathan Skidmore, said: "There is no reliable scientific evidence that shows Vioxx causes cardiac arrhythmia, which an autopsy showed was the cause of Mr Ernst's death." He also added that the Texas case was a "shot across the bows" for Merck. I would say it is a shot across the bows for all drug manufacturers — they have been warned.

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