The third largest drug company, Merck, and fellow pharmaceutical partner, Scherling-Plough had agreed to pay out $688 million dollars to their investors after not coming forward with an unfavorable study of their top selling cholesterol drugs, Zetia and Vytorin.
Upon the drugs conception, Merck paid a research team to provide evidence that Zetia and Vytorin were the best in the industry at reducing cholesterol. Unfortunately for the company, the study suggested that the drugs were no better than a cheap generic statin drug for reducing plaque in arteries. The company did not want the results of the study to interfere with the sales of the pricey drug, and delayed releasing the unflattering results until 2008. After the news was released, the stocks plummeted, and the sale of the drugs also started declining rapidly.
Scherling-Plough will be ordered to pay $473 million while Merck will pay $215 million, a settlement which is widely seen as a triumph for private civil litigation. This is not the first time that the company has paid out over the concern of the two drugs, in 2009, both companies paid just over $40 million dollars to settle lawsuits from consumers and insurers, then $5.4 million from a civil protection suit.
Since the study was released, the two companies have been trying to get Zetia back in demand by combining it with Pfyzer drug, Lipitor, but were quickly rejected by the FDA. Although many people have stopped taking the pricey cholesterol reducing-drugs, they are still one of the most popular brands on the market. If you have been the victim of a drug company’s wrongdoings, make sure you contact an experienced attorney to get you the compensation you deserve.