Excellent editorial from the Washington Post about the New England Journal of Medicine's widely publicized retraction of a 2000 article on Vioxx (see here, here and here). The Post says the new development does not
alter our view that the courts are the wrong place to resolve disputes about drug safety. The New England Journal of Medicine's retraction is expected to have an enormous impact on the thousands of lawsuits against Merck. But it is still not clear that doctors prescribing Vioxx several years ago would have behaved any differently had the journal article showed that the risk of heart problems was very slightly higher. Scientific judgments about the risks and advantages of drugs are not black and white -- which is why they are best made by scientists and by the regulatory agency that employs them, not by jurors through the lens of hindsight.
(via our sister website Medical Progress Today, which comments).