"For four years, researchers have been pointing to disturbing signs that the popular pain-killing drug Vioxx causes heart attacks and strokes with long-term use. ... The rise and fall of Vioxx highlights the need for longer studies before the FDA approves medications that will often be taken for extended periods and lack the urgency of life-saving treatments. ... The only reason for speedy approval of drugs like Vioxx, which simply improve on other painkillers, is to give the maker a longer period under patent protection. There is a risk that a short trial will not detect side effects in drugs ... that might be taken by some patients for years."