Merck to Pay $58 Million to Thirty States

      SAN DIEGO (CN) – In response to Merck’s Vioxx fiasco – and lawsuits from 30 states – the drug-maker will pay $58 million to the states and has agreed to get FDA approval before running any TV advertisement for new pain medications, California Attorney General Jerry Brown said today.




     “Merck’s aggressive television advertising convinced hundreds of thousands of consumers to seek Vioxx prescriptions before the drug’s risk were fully understood,” Brown said in a press release. “Today’s groundbreaking settlement prevents Merck from releasing new television drug advertisements without obtaining federal approval.”
     Brown said the settlement resolved 30 state lawsuits about Merck’s marketing of Vioxx, a non-steroid anti-inflammation drug. Merck began an aggresive push to sell the drug in 1999, marketing to doctors and directly to consumers, without revealing the effect of the drug on the heart. Merck admitted as much in 2004 and withdrew the drug.
     California will get $5.3 million of that $58 million to be used for attorney fees and consumer education.
     It also prohibits Merck from ghost writing articles and studies for publication; requires its promotional speakers to disclose conflicts of interest; and requires it to submit clinical trial results of FDA-approved drugs to the National Library of Medicine.
     Other states involved in the settlement are Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

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