Merck ups comms as timing of recall sparks questions

WHITEHOUSE STATION, NJ: More than a month after pulling its blockbuster drug Vioxx off the market, Merck must now answer questions over whether it acted quickly enough in its recall of the painkiller.

WHITEHOUSE STATION, NJ: More than a month after pulling its blockbuster drug Vioxx off the market, Merck must now answer questions over whether it acted quickly enough in its recall of the painkiller.

A series of Wall Street Journal articles compare Merck's press releases to internal memos that appear to question the drug's heart safety.

The drug company is doing "as many interviews as possible," said Anita Larsen, Merck's senior media relations director. "The mantra has been openness, integrity, and transparency."

Larsen declined to name the firms involved in the crisis effort. "We've used various consultants to craft what we do," she said.

She added that the in-house team created the global crisis strategy and then consulted with the agencies "just so you get a validation of your gut."

"The message is that we did the right thing," Larsen said.

Merck has received positive press since the recall regarding promising studies of a vaccine that could prevent cervical cancer.

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