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When chronic pain forces a top student to withdraw from college, biology instructor Dr. Sharpe learns that medications (in this case, Vioxx) may be removed from the market for many reasons, including safety concerns. As the case unfolds, students learn how the FDA balances drug safety against medical needs. As written, the case is appropriate for a non-majors biology course. It could also be adapted for use in a more advanced course in cell biology, pharmacology, or biochemistry, or modified to explore statistical analysis, specific analytical methods used for risk/benefit analysis, or bioethical issues.
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