Ron Unz published an interesting and disturbing article in The American Conservative last week about the American political and media establishments’ having given a free pass to the pharmaceutical company Merck after its drug Vioxx caused thousands of deaths: “Chinese Melamine and American Vioxx: A Comparison.” Unz contrasts the American media’s handling of the Chinese infant and pet food scandals with how they covered the Vioxx affair. Unz also compares the reactions of the respective governments. Unz notes that eventually the ChiComs executed some of the men who were responsible for the infant formula malefaction that resulted in six deaths and thousands of medical complication cases, whereas no one has really been held accountable for Vioxx, which may have caused the deaths of a half million Americans.
I discovered Unz’s article on Sailer’s site. Some of Sailer’s commentators think that Unz is being too hard on Merck, especially given the amount of people who took the drug and the benefits derived from it. Some even contend that aspirin would not pass F.D.A. approval today if it were a new drug. I do not know, but Unz’s article calls into question whatever journalistic integrity that remains in this country.
Update: Be sure to see Peter Schaeffer’s criticism of Unz’s arguments in the comments section.