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In order to survive in the increasingly lucrative and competitive phramaceutical business, big drug companies need to have several billion dollar “blockbuster” drugs on the market at any one time. This has forced many to market their products ever more aggressively—and to pay less attention to their potential risks. In the case of Merck’s painkiller, Vioxx, this had disastrous and lethal results. Critics estimate that 140,000 Americans suffered heart attacks and strokes as a result of taking the drug during the seven years it was on the market.

There have been numerous scandals…

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