As a St. Louis drug liability lawyer, I was scandalized but not surprised by a recent revelation that Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. actively suppressed evidence about their drugs’ efficacy in order to prtect their bottom lines. The two New Jersey companies last week stated they would pay $5.4 million to settle civil claims that they had buried test results suggesting two of their new cholesterol drugs were less of a breakthrough than they were purported to be. The 5.4 million sum only represents only the costs of the investigations, which came from 35 states plus the District of Columbia. The two companies need not make any other payments, or admit to any sort of wrongdoing — despite some pretty damning evidence.
In January of 2008, Merck and Schering-Plough released studies showing that Vytorin and Zetia were no more effective at reducing plaque buildup in neck blood vessels than Zocor, an older drug that is now available in a vastly cheaper generic form. The trouble is, these studies were completed in 2006 — two years prior to the results’ release. In other words, plenty of time was allowed for consumers and their doctors to be misled into spending more money than they really needed to. With sales of Vytorin at $2.78 billion and Zetia at $2.41 billion in 2007, that means thousands or even millions of people were misled by these companies’ failure to warn them. They may also have assumed unnecessary risks of serious side effects, including muscle disease and even cancer.
In fact, a 2007 piece in the New York Times suggested that Merck and Schering-Plough may have also suppressed evidence from clinical trials that found a connection between the drugs and liver problems. But even if there were no evidence of safety problems, it’s disturbing that drug companies would choose to bury negative information about their products in order to protect their profits. If they are willing to hide information about comparative efficacy and liver disease, what else might they be hiding? This deception alone is enough to form the basis of a strong St. Louis defective medication lawsuit claiming damages for the drug companies’ failure to warn consumers.
If you or a loved one has fallen victim to a dangerous drug due to misleading marketing tactics, we can help. Headquartered in St. Louis, Carey, Danis & Lowe represents people around the United States who have been seriously injured by defective drugs. Our pharmaceutical liability lawyers can help you win compensation for hospital bills, lost wages, and other damages that came as the result of a dangerous drug. If you would like to learn more about your rights and are ready to take the next step, please contact our firm online for a free, confidential consultation, or call our offices toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.