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Critics, and now some lawmakers contend that the FDA failed to police Merck's efforts to downplay Vioxx's cardiovascular risks, including a card of misleading safety information that salespeople distributed to doctors. Although a link between Vioxx and heart attacks first emerged in a medical journal in 2000, Merck managed to build the drug into a $2.5 billion-a-year product by 2003. Representative Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California, said. "Merck gave its sales force a specific script to use with doctors when showing them the card, telling them to say to doctors that the cardiovascular mortality of Vioxx was eight times lower than other drugs."