Fosamax Femur Fracture Lawsuit
Merck settles Vytorin® lawsuits, still faces Fosamax lawsuits

Drug manufacturer Merck & Co. recently settled an on-going lawsuit with its shareholders who claim the company concealed information about the cholesterol lowering drug Vytorin. According to a clinical study referred to as ENHANCE, Vytorin was shown to be less effective than Zocor®, a less expensive cholesterol lowering drug.

Shareholders alleged Merck & Co. of concealing this information for 21 months in an attempt to make its stock more valuable. Merck settled the lawsuit by agreeing to pay a $5.1 million to cover plaintiffs’ fees. The company will also be required to report delayed test results to the board of directors if it takes longer than one year.

Vytorin was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004 and it includes a combination of Zetia® and Zocor. Zetia stops the digestive system from absorbing cholesterol from food, while Zocor minimizes the amount of cholesterol produced in the liver.

Both Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. jointly marketed Vytorin as being safe and effective. Vytorin users filed a lawsuit against Merck and Schering claiming that Vytorin was not as effective as it was marketed to be. The lawsuit was later settled in a $41.5 million agreement.

An investigation of the ENHANCE clinical study raised questions about the honesty of Merck and Schering. It is believed that the data was manipulated a year and a half after Vytorin was shown not to be effective. The companies agreed to pay $5.4 million to resolve these investigations.

The lawsuits filed by shareholders and consumers for the ineffectiveness of Vytorin are not the only issues Merck battles. The pharmaceutical giant also battles a number of Fosamax lawsuits filed by women throughout the U.S. Fosamax is a medication prescribed to treat osteoporosis. However, it was found that long term use of the drug resulted in atypical femur fractures. Currently, all Fosamax femur fracture lawsuits are consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey before Judge Garrett E. Brown for pretrial proceedings.

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