Drug maker Merck will pay $950 million to resolve investigations into its marketing of the painkiller Vioxx. Merck will pay $321.6 million in criminal fines and $628.4 million as a civil settlement agreement. It will also plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge that it marketed Vioxx as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis before getting U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. Merck stopped selling Vioxx in 2004 after evidence showed the drug doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke. In 2007, our firm was directly involved in forcing Merck to pay $4.85 billion to settle around 50,000 Vioxx-related civil lawsuits.
According to the Justice Department, this settlement resolves allegations that Merck made false, unproven, or misleading statements about Vioxx’s safety in order to increase sales, and made false statements to Medicaid agencies about its safety. Merck will have to accept federal monitoring as part of the agreement.
Vioxx was approved by the FDA in 1999, but the government did not initially approve the drug for use in rheumatoid arthritis. That meant doctors could write prescriptions for Vioxx for rheumatoid arthritis patients, but Merck could not promote the drug for that use. Merck promoted Vioxx for rheumatoid arthritis for three years and continued to do so after getting an FDA warning letter in 2001. The drug was approved as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in 2002. The government will get $426.4 million from the settlement, and $202 million will be distributed to state Medicaid programs for 43 states and the District of Columbia.
Source: Associated Press
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.