$688 Million Settlement of Lawsuits Against Merck

$688 Million Settlement of Lawsuits Against Merck
vytorin-lawsuit-settlement.jpgCivil lawsuit settlements against drug maker Merck for lying about benefits of drug Vytorin were announced yesterday. The lawsuits alleged that Merck had known for over two years that Vytorin was no better than other statins on the market but falsely advertised Vytorin as having better results.
These lawsuits were brought by shareholders of the company that bought stock in the company based upon the expected sales of Vytorin.
This is not the first time that drug maker Merck has been sued for fraud.
Merck agreed to a multibillion dollar settlement for lying about the safety of its popular pain medication Vioxx a few years ago. In the Vioxx lawsuits it was shown that Merck manipulated medical studies to hide incidences of heart attacks. Merck knew that its sales would suffer if it was known that Vioxx could increase the incidence of heart attacks in some patients.
Unfortunately, it has become commonplace for pharmaceutical and medical device companies to misrepresent science when it suits their financial interests. Another example of this is playing out in a Los Angeles courtroom this week in the Kransky v. DePuy ASR hip implant trial. In that case evidence has been presented that DePuy Orthopedics knew for years that the ASR XL metal hip implant was failing at an extremely high rate and left it on the market to be implanted in thousands more unsuspecting patients. Most of these patients will likely need expensive and painful revision surgery.
There are currently over ten thousand ASR hip implant lawsuits pending in the United States.