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What media bias? Prakash on Penn State

If you had any doubt about NPR reporter Snigdha Prakash's bias against Merck when covering the Vioxx litigation, she completely dispelled it with a wrong-headed piece in Slate about Merck CEO (and former general counsel) Charles Frazier being appointed to head the investigation on the Sandusky scandal at Penn State. Prakash slanders Merck with a variety of false claims, referencing the bogus Lancet study claiming Vioxx caused an additional 140,000 heart attacks; claiming "most of the five-and-a-half years it sold Vioxx, Merck knew the drug doubled the risk of cardiovascular problems among users" (they didn't and it didn't); "withholding clinical trial results that would have definitively proven Vioxx's risks to federal regulators" (they didn't and they didn't). Even today, it is unclear whether Vioxx produced a net benefit, with its gastroprotective aspects outweighing the slight increase in cardiovascular risk. Prakash complains that Merck settled its cases for "only" $5 billion (plus another $2 billion in defense costs): why does she think that the lawyers left tens of billions of dollars on the table if Merck had actually done something wrong? She mentions the tens of thousands of suits, but not that thousands of those suits involved plaintiffs who hadn't even taken Vioxx—and that the lawyers who committed fraud on the court suffered no consequences (and in fact were rewarded handsomely). To top it all off, she ignorantly suggests that the appointment of Frazier suggests a scorched-earth litigation strategy by Penn State, though Frazier will have nothing to do with Penn State's legal strategy (and is likely to have little role beyond editing and delivering an investigative report generated by other attorneys that he supervises). Earlier.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.