Merck sought approval to begin human clinical trials for Vioxx

In 1994, Merck sought approval to begin human clinical trials for Vioxx, a pain reliever for people who suffer from arthritis. Vioxx promised to be superior to other arthritis pain-relievers, because it does not cause ulcers or stomach bleeding as a side effect. Vioxx became a best-seller, and more than 20 million people used the drug between 1999 and 2004. However, from early on in the clinical trials, Merck began to discover that Vioxx users had much higher incidents of heart attack than people who used traditional painkillers. In 2004, Merck voluntarily stops the sale of Vioxx.
Research each of these cases and offer a comparative ethical analysis of the cases. You should:
1) Outline the important/relevant aspects of the cases.
2) Arrive at a decision about whether Merck acted rightly or wrongly.
3) If you believe that Merck acted wrongly, explain what you believe Merck should have done instead.
4) Justify all of your conclusions (acted rightly, acted wrongly, should have done this instead) by supporting them with arguments that use the ethical principles and theories we have studied this semester.
What is a “comparative ethical analysis”?
A comparative ethical analysis involves the application of the ethical theories to each case, and then a comparison of the results. For example, apply Utilitarianism to each case and offer a comparison of the result. What does the application of this theory reveal about the similarities and differenced between the two cases? What insights or conclusions can be drawn about the ethically correct course of action in each case, based on the comparison?