Conway files Vioxx lawsuit

Keith Loria Sep. 29, 2009, 5:26pm


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Legal Newsline) - Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against a pharmaceutical giant over alleged violations of the state's Consumer Protection Act.

Merck & Co. is being charged with violating the law by marketing their anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx, without revealing all the facts.

The suit alleges that in May 1999, Merck began an aggressive and deceptive promotional campaign of the drug directed at both consumers and health care professionals, without mentioning warnings of increased risk of cardiovascular events listed as a side effect.

Conway alleges that Merck was aware of the dangers through internal studies that were not disclosed to the FDA or the public.

"Consumers have a right to know all of the risks associated with the prescription drugs they take," Conway said.

"Merck relied on an aggressive marketing campaign to lure consumers into taking Vioxx and then concealed the increased health risks associated with the drug. This kind of deception puts consumers at risk and will not be tolerated in Kentucky."

The lawsuit also accuses Merck of engaging in an elaborate scheme to create or publish scholarly articles under fake or ghost authors in order to further develop support for Vioxx.

In 2004, Merck admitted that Vioxx caused serious side effects and pulled the product from the market. The Democrat is seeking injunctive relief, civil penalties and other equitable relief related to Merck's marketing of Vioxx.

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