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Merck to pay $950 million to settle Vioxx charges

Merck to pay $950 million to settle Vioxx charges22 November 2011, by Nicole Hong - San Francisco (MarketWatch)

Merck & Co. Inc. has agreed to pay $950 million to settle criminal and civil charges related to the misbranding of painkiller Vioxx, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Under the agreement, Merck will plead guilty to a misdemeanor for its "illegal promotional activity" and pay a $321.6 million fine.

The company is also paying $628.4 million in a civil settlement to resolve additional allegations regarding false statements about the drug's safety and "off-label marketing," or prescribing a drug for uses unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Between 1999 and 2002, Merck promoted Vioxx to doctors as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, a use that had not yet been approved by the FDA, the department alleged.

Vioxx was pulled from the market in 2004 after being linked to heart risks. Forum Index -> HEALTH and Medical NEWS
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