In one of the top amounts ever paid for by a pharmaceutical, drug maker Merck will settle for almost a billion dollars to end the investigations on its marketing of the painkiller Vioxx. Merck plead guilty by their own choice to the misdemeanor charge that the corporation marketed Vioxx as a relief treatment for rheumatoid arthritis without ever being approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Merck is willingly paying $321.3 million in criminal fines and $628.4 million in a civil settlement agreement, as well as accepting federal monitoring to ensure there are no further violations and potential public health risks.
Vioxx was discontinued in September 2004 after it was proven to double the risk of heart attack and stroke. The company was made to pay over $4 billion in 2007 to settle the 50,000 Vioxx-related lawsuits due to allegations of false, unproven, or misleading statements regarding the safety of Vioxx, in order to increase sales.
The FDA had approved Vioxx in May of 1999 but did not initially approve the medication for rheumatoid arthritis, which is what the drug claims to take care of.
Merck has also come under scrutiny with it's blockbuster drug Fosamax after numerous medical journal articles linked long term use to atypical femur fractures. Our firm has hundreds of lawsuits in various courts alleging damages caused by this drug. If you have taken a bisphosphonate contact the Fosamax Femur Fracture Lawyers at Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin LLP for a free consulation with an experienced New York attorney.