Controversy surrounding the cholesterol-fighting drug Vytorin continues to escalate as federal and state prosecutors investigate Merck and Schering-Plough’s marketing of the drug. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, many government officials suspect that the companies’ marketing of Vytorin was misleading and improper.
If Vytorin ad campaigns and promotional media were based on a false or misleading premise, and the drug isn’t all its manufacturers publicized it to be (as the drug trials suggest), then government programs spent millions of dollars on reimbursement for a drug that is ineffective, possibly dangerous, and much more expensive than generic cholesterol medications.
Additionally, 35 attorneys general are investigating to see if any state consumer protection laws were violated by the marketing.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is one of the state attorneys investigating the matter. “We believe that there are very real and serious issues that may have affected consumer pocketbooks, if not their health, and we intend to pursue these issues vigorously,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
Merck and Schering-Plough, both New Jersey based corporations, said they were cooperating with the investigations and jointly responding to the inquiries.
Earlier this year, the House Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigations into the safety of Vytorin and the ways in which the drug was marketed.
It is widely believed that Merck and Schering Plough concealed unfavorable trial results for up to two years in an effort to protect the drug’s stellar sales. Both companies deny the accusation that trial data were withheld.
Vytorin is already the subject of a number of lawsuits seeking class action status. Approximately 140 such suits have been filed across the country.