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Lawsuit Filed in Florida Federal Court Over Marketing of Vytorin and Zetia By Merck and Schering-Plough
Date:1/24/2008

tained for approximately 1/3 of the cost of the brand name drugs. Both companies would also face punitive damages.

Schering-Plough Corporation manufactures, markets, and/or sells the prescription drug Zetia. Zetia is a cholesterol-lowering drug, which acts by diminishing the absorption of cholesterol through the intestines.

Merck Corporation, Inc. manufactures, markets and/or sells the prescription drug Vytorin which is Merck's brand-name composite drug consisting of a proprietary combination of Zetia and Zocor. The drug Zocor is a statin, which reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and total cholesterol in the blood.

According to the complaint, on January 14, 2008, "possibly prompted by Congressional inquiry," Merck and Schering-Plough released a study from April, 2006, that found Vytorin provided no significant benefit in slowing the clogging of arteries versus generic statin drugs -- in fact, some patients showed an increase in triglycerides when compared to those using generic statin drugs alone. Publication of the study was withheld for almost two years. In the meantime, Vytorin had been marketed as "the only drug that helps: Block the absorption of cholesterol that comes from food," and "Reduces the cholesterol your body makes naturally," with the result of "less bad cholesterol . . . in your bloodstream."

Indeed, just yesterday Merck and Schering-Plough placed advertisements in major newspapers stating they "proudly stand behind the established efficacy and safety profile of Zetia and Vytorin."

Boston Professor Tim Howard J.D, Ph.D, Director of the Doctorate Program in Law & Policy at Northeastern University, founding partner of Howard & Associates, P.A., a leading law firm based in Tallahassee, Florida, and co- counsel in the case, said: "It's not just patients who are being ripped off by fraudulent marketing claims. It's health systems, insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid, and -- ultimately -- the U.S. t
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SOURCE Howard and Associates, P.A.; Wilner Block, P.A.
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