For Immediate Release
May 18, 2012
Jeff Cahill, Sr., Assistant Attorney General
Attorney General Michael A. Delaney announces that New Hampshire has finalized a settlement with Merck Sharp & Dohme (Merck), joining 42 other states in a national resolution against the drug manufacturer. The case involved allegations that Merck marketed its drug Vioxx for uses not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and misrepresented the cardiovascular safety issues relating to the drug. New Hampshire's share of the settlement is $1.03 million.
Vioxx (generic name rofecoxib) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication that was approved by the FDA in 1999 for the treatment of osteoarthritis, acute pain conditions and dysmenorrheal. In 2004, Merck voluntarily withdrew Vioxx from the market, citing an increase in the incidence of adverse cardiovascular events in patients taking Vioxx. A subsequent federal investigation focused on allegations that Merck marketed Vioxx for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis before the FDA approved the drug for that usage in 2002, and that Merck promoted the cardiovascular safety of Vioxx by means of certain statements and writings that were inaccurate, misleading and inconsistent. As part of the federal case resolution, a unit of Merck pled guilty last month in Boston to misbranding Vioxx in violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for its marketing and promotion of the drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis before it was FDA approved for that purpose.
New Hampshire and the other settling states alleged that Merck made false representations concerning the safety of Vioxx which Medicaid programs relied on when making formulary and prior authorization decisions that enabled reimbursement for the drug. Additionally, the states alleged that Merck made misleading representations about Vioxx in its marketing, advertising and promotion of the drug that caused physicians to write prescriptions paid for by Medicaid that otherwise would not have been written or reimbursed.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301