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Merck, which generated $2.5 billion in sales last year with its Vioxx arthritis-fighting medication, voluntarily pulled the product off the shelves of stores throughout the world yesterday, saying that studies showed that patients on the drug were twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as those on a placebo.

Analysts say that two million people are currently taking Vioxx. While there has been rampant speculation for years about a possible connection between Vioxx and other health problems, Merck has vehemently denied any connection.

Until yesterday.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is being criticized for not taking allegations about Vioxx’s negative impact seriously enough, and now FDA says it will request additional information from other, similar drugs to Vioxx made by other companies.
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