Idaho AG announces $285k Medicaid settlement with Merck

By Bryan Cohen | Jun 15, 2012


BOISE, Idaho (Legal Newsline) - Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced a $285,991 settlement Thursday with Merck resolving allegations of illegal marketing of the drug Vioxx.

Merck allegedly marketed Vioxx for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, misrepresented cardiovascular safety issues with the drug, and made other misleading and false representations about the drug. Of the settlement fund, $189,302 worth of recoveries and interest has been deposited in the state's general fund and $96,689 in restitution has been returned to the Idaho Medicaid Program.

Vioxx was approved by the FDA in 1999 for treating acute pain conditions, dysmenorrhea and osteoarthritis. On September 30, 2004, Merck withdrew Vioxx voluntarily from the worldwide market, citing a rise in the incidence of adverse cardiovascular events for patients taking the drug.

Wasden alleged that Merck made false representations connected to the safety of Vioxx to the Medicaid program in Idaho. The Medicaid program relied heavily on that information to make formulary and authorization decisions connected to Vioxx.

In addition, Merck allegedly made misleading or false representations about Vioxx in its advertising, marketing and promotion, causing physicians to write Vioxx prescriptions that they otherwise would not have written. This allegedly caused Idaho Medicaid to pay for prescriptions that should not have been reimbursed.

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