May 21, 2008
Merck to Settle Vioxx Advertising Claims by AGs for $58 Million & Ban on Medical Ghostwriting
Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Merck Will Pay $58 Million To Settle Vioxx Ad Claims, by Kevin Kingsbury. Here's an excerpt:
Merck & Co. agreed to pay $58 million to settle claims by 28 states and the District of Columbia that the drug maker used deceptive advertising for its Vioxx painkiller.
The drug maker also agreed to a ban on medical ghostwriting, under which an author's true identity is concealed. Last month, two medical-journal studies suggested Merck violated scientific-publishing ethics by ghostwriting dozens of academic articles, and minimized the impact of patient deaths in its analyses of some human trials involving Vioxx.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett said Tuesday that in 1999, Merck launched "an aggressive and deceptive advertising campaign which misrepresented the safety and improperly concealed the increased risks associated with Vioxx." The drug was pulled from the market in 2004, after safety concerns were raised.
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