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A Big Pharma Merger Made in Hell

This week's merger of Merck and Schering-Plough seems another example of throwing bad money after bad.

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Singular, Merck's asthma drug is also on the ropes for suicidal side effects and parents are saying you want us to vaccinate our daughter with WHAT about its $400 cervical cancer drug Gardasil. (Who do you think paid for all the HPV "awareness" campaigns?)

Many are saying the drug companies need a new business model, having dealt themselves out of the game with their crash-and-burn blockbusters and with third party and Medicaid benefits managers saying "you've got to be kidding" about extravagant patent drugs.

Nor will they be shielded from law suits because they have FDA approval thanks to March's Wyeth v. Levine ruling.

Will patients pay hundreds for the vaccines and biologics which drug companies hope will become their new gravy train? If they say Trust Us?

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist and cartoonist who frequently writes about the impact of the pharmaceutical, food and gun industries on public health. A former medical copywriter, her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, as well as on the BBC and in the original National Lampoon.

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