When Drug Sales and Science Collide
Kodiak College / University of Alaska Anchorage
When "Jeff," a fictionalized drug representative, is placed on the Vioxx® account in 2001, he finds himself pulled between sales and science as he struggles to reconcile three original documents: a Merck marketing pamphlet, a graph from a scientific journal, and a confidential internal bulletin. As students work through the case, they must interpret scientific data, consider ethical issues related to the pharmaceutical industry, and learn why Vioxx, a wonder drug, was taken off the market. This interrupted case is appropriate for advanced high school students and first-year college science majors and non-majors.
- Evaluate data provided by a pharmaceutical company for distribution by its sales representatives to doctors.
- Interpret data in a graph taken from the primary scientific literature.
- Identify and discuss the importance of a sample size in medical research.
- Discuss some of the ethical issues related to the drug industry and their impact on society.
- Evaluate why Vioxx was considered a wonder drug and why it was pulled off the market.
KeywordsVioxx; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; pharmaceuticals; experimental design; sample size; data interpretation; clinical trial; FDA; Merck
Topical AreasEthics, Scientific method, Regulatory issues, Social issues
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsInterrupted
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Medicine (General) | Pharmacy / Pharmacology | Nursing | Science (General) |
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