October 1, 2009
Posted by Mike Ferrara
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has filed suit in Franklin Circuit Court against pharma giant Merck for violating Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Act in connection with Vioxx, the blockbuster painkiller that caused strokes and heart attacks, and was withdrawn from the market in September 2004.
The lawsuit against Merck alleges that beginning May 1999, the company launched an aggressive, deceptive Vioxx marketing campaign targeting health care professionals as well as consumers. The campaign, which touted Vioxx’s effectiveness in treating osteoarthritis, menstrual pain, and other forms of acute pain, didn’t include an increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes in its list of common side effects, even though Merck knew full well about this risk.
The suit also accuses Merck of commissioning ghostwriters to write and researchers to forge their names on purportedly “scholarly” articles (published in reputable journals including The Journal of the American Medical Association) whose true purpose was to further develop Vioxx’s name recognition and credibility.
Comment from Leslie
For those of you who do not know HPV has become an acronym for “Help Pay for Vioxx.” Not laughing here – there is a lot of sad truth to this statement. Big Pharma plays Russian Roulette with our health – and gets away with it.