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Vermont To Receive $600,000 From Settlement Of Claims Against Merck For Off-Label Marketing Of Vioxx

CONTACT: Edward A. Baker, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5511

November 23, 2011

Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced today that Vermont will receive approximately $600,000 in damages and penalties to the Vermont Medicaid program as part of a national settlement with pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. ("Merck") regarding its illegal marketing of the drug Vioxx. Merck marketed Vioxx for uses not approved by the FDA, misrepresented the cardiovascular safety of the drug, and made other false and misleading statements. The settlement resolves complaints filed by the federal government and a number of States after Merck voluntarily withdrew Vioxx from the market in September 2004, citing an increase in the incidence of adverse cardiovascular events in patients taking Vioxx. In May 2008, Vermont obtained a $1.7 million dollar settlement with Merck on its consumer protection claims related to the illegal marketing; this current settlement addresses separate damages to the Vermont Medicaid program. As part of the settlement, Merck will plead guilty to a criminal misdemeanor for misbranding Vioxx, pay a $300 million criminal fine, pay $615 million in damages and penalties, and enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the federal government to closely monitor the company's future marketing practices.

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