Lawsuits filed in Federal Court over marketing of cholesterol-lowering drugs Vytorin and Zetia
Lawsuits, alleging violations of consumer statutes, breach of warranty and unjust enrichment, have been filed against Merck and Schering-Plough.
Howard and Associates, P.A. and Wilner Block, P.A. filed a suit on January 18 seeking punitive damages from Merck and Schering-Plough for their marketing and sale of the cholesterol-lowering drugs Vytorin and Zetia.
The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, which seeks class action status, is Marion Greene, a 72-year old grandmother who purchased Zetia through federal Medicare and Veterans Administration drug programs.
"I was shocked to see that I was using a drug costing three times what a generic would, with no additional benefits," said Greene. "I feel I've been intentionally misled by companies whose main pursuit is profits, rather than health."
“Lawsuits, alleging violations of consumer statutes, breach of warranty and unjust enrichment, have been filed against Merck and Schering-Plough.
The law firm said, published reports indicate combined revenues of more than $5bn from sales of Vytorin and Zetia. Under state and federal consumer protection laws, both Merck and Schering-Plough would have to refund overpayments, since generic statin drugs can be obtained for approximately 1/3 of the cost of the brand name drugs. Both companies would also face punitive damages.
According to the complaint, 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. Publication of the study was withheld for almost two years, said the plaintiffs.
Norwood Wilner, founding partner at Wilner Block described the incident as the ‘definition of consumer fraud.’