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Merck Pays $950M to Settle Vioxx Charges

Feds accused company of illegal marketing

(Newser) - Drug maker Merck will pay $950 million to resolve investigations into its marketing of the painkiller Vioxx. The Justice Department said Merck will pay $321.6 million in criminal fines and $628.4 million as a civil settlement agreement. The company also will plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge that... More »

Drug Companies Hide Data From Docs

Edited info could mislead those prescribing meds

(Newser) - Pharmaceutical companies aren't as upfront with doctors as they are with the government about their new products, a study finds. Though drug companies must provide the FDA with all of the data from clinical trials, related papers published in medical journals were found to omit info from 20% of the... More »

Court Tosses $32M Verdict Against Vioxx

Says evidence insufficient that it contributed to Texan's death

(Newser) - A Texas appellate court threw out a $32 million verdict against Merck today, citing a lack of evidence that Vioxx contributed to a man’s fatal heart attack. Lionel Garza was taking the painkiller when he died in 2001 at age 71, but was also a smoker with high blood... More »

Merck Used Ghostwriters to Draft Rosy Vioxx Studies

Company downplayed risks in medical articles on drug found to be a killer

(Newser) - Merck used its own ghostwriters to draft articles minimizing risks of its drug Vioxx, then found medical researchers to lend their names to the research, the Wall Street Journal reports. Merck, which pulled the painkiller from shelves four years ago over heart-attack risks, rejects the claims as "misleading."... More »

Merck Will Pay $650M to End Discount Probes

Drug company alleged to have kept Medicaid in dark on lowest prices

(Newser) - Drug company Merck will dish out $650 million to resolve lawsuits and probes into marketing schemes, the Wall Street Journal reports. Central to the investigations is the company’s “nominal pricing,” which slashed some drug prices by 90% for hospitals but hid the discounts from Medicaid, even though... More »

Merck Recalls 1M Doses of Vaccine for Kids

Drug company finds contamination at its Pennsylvania factory

(Newser) - Merck is recalling almost a million doses of a childhood vaccine after it found evidence of contamination at one of its factories, the AP reports. The pharmaceutical giant says no children have been harmed after taking Hib, which prevents meningitis and pneumonia, but the company is recalling its 10 lots... More »

Merck to Settle Suits for $4.85B

Deal will be official once 85% of plaintiffs agree

(Newser) - Merck has agreed to shell out $4.85 billion to settle 27,000 Vioxx lawsuits brought by plaintiffs who argued that the pain medication damaged health and caused deaths. The agreement, one of the largest in history, must still be approved by 85% of the plaintiffs, but it's likely to... More »

Drug Company Nemesis Strikes Again

Crusading cardiologist took on Vioxx, now Avandia, for heart risks

(Newser) - The doctor who helped to raise concerns about the painkiller Vioxx is back—with the study released earlier this week linking the same company's popular diabetes drug, Avandia, to higher risk of heart attacks. The Wall Street Journal looks at 58-year-old cardiologist Steven Nissen's role in identifying and publicizing drug... More »

FDA Given New Muscle To Monitor Drugs

Senate bill requires continued scrutiny after approval

(Newser) - The Food and Drug Administration would be given sweeping new powers to order drug recalls, regulate advertising and mandate changes in labels under a bill passed by the Senate yesterday. The bill signals a fundamental shift in the FDA's role, the New York Times reports, requiring the agency to track... More »

9 Stories