Merck, makers of VIOXX and FOSAMAX among other drugs, agreed to pay $950 million to settle criminal and civil claims that it illegally promoted the drug VIOXX.  Merck will plead guilty to a misdemeanor offense and pay $321,636, 000 criminal fines. According to the Justice Department, Merck also entered into a civil settlement and will pay $628 million to resolve additional allegations regarding off label marketing of VIOXX and false statements about the drug’s cardiovascular safety. Click here to read the Department of Justice release:  U.S. Pharmaceutical Company Merck Sharp & Dohme to Pay Nearly One Billion Dollars Over Promotion of Vioxx

$424,389,000 goes to the US government and $201,975,000 to participating MEDICAID States.  According to the Justice Department, “The settlement resolves allegations that Merck representatives made inaccurate, unsupported, or misleading statements about Vioxx’s cardiovascular safety in order to increase sales of the drug, resulting in payments by the federal government.  It also resolves allegations that Merck made false statements to state Medicaid agencies about the cardiovascular safety of Vioxx, and that those agencies relied on Merck’s false claims in making payment decisions about the drug.”

In its own statement Merck stated “The civil settlement does not constitute any admission by Merck of any liability or wrongdoing.”

Who loses?

Consumers.  Those who were injured by VIOXX, who were led to believe it was safe, and were killed or seriously injured.

Who else?

The medical profession who was taken advantage of in a system that relies on drug companies telling the truth. And our entire society, where a drug company can do this, and simply pay a fine to walk away.

Who Wins? Merck’s management and employees who engaged in improper conduct and face no criminal penalties and keep their jobs. And don’t  forget Merck itself. In spite of the amount of the fine,  look at what Merck  earned versus what they paid.

Our office represented a number of VIOXX users and tried a VIOXX case in California in Los Angeles Superior Court (Arrigale vs. Merck). What a shame that so many people were not told the truth and suffered life changing heart attacks and strokes. Where would they be today if the truth was simply told to consumers, doctors, and the public. Merck also makes FOSAMAX, a drug associated with atypical femur fractures.

Fosamax, Used to Treat Osteoporosis, Is Linked To Unusual Bone Fractures in The Femur

The Brandi Law Firm represents a number of women and men who suffered femur fractures while taking FOSAMAX. Only time will tell if Merck told the truth about FOSAMAX. For information about FOSAMAX, or other drug or device cases, contact the attorneys at the Brandi Law Firm www.brandilaw.com Attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm have long been involved in drug and device litigation, from the Dalkon Shield, Phen fen, VIOXX, AVANDIA, YAZ, to POP ( pelvic organ prolapse) surgeries from Transvaginal mesh, bladder cancer from Actos, femur fractures from Fosamax, to toxic poisoning and revisions from De Puy ASR metal on metal hip implants. For more information contact Drug Litigation Attorneys a the Brandi Law Firm.