State wins case against Merck

| Print |  Email
Tuesday, July 01, 2008

STATEWIDE Oregon’s lead role in a record-breaking settlement with Merck & Co. over deceptive marketing for the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx represents the latest skirmish in an ongoing campaign against Big Pharma that has earned the state more than $8.5 million.

After leading a three-year, 30-state investigation into deceptive advertisements downplaying the health risks associated with Vioxx, Oregon received $2.8 million of the record $58 million paid out by Merck. The judgment banned Merck from manipulating data when marketing to physicians, “ghost writing” articles for medical journals and failing to disclose conflicts of interest among doctors who study and promote drugs on behalf of the company.

The Vioxx settlement reflects growing concerns over how drug companies hook consumers on prescription drugs. Drug giants have poured billions into “demand creation” since the federal government loosened rules prohibiting “direct-to-consumer” advertising in 1997. In 2007 Oregon was the lead state in an $8 million settlement against Bayer for minimizing the dangers of Baycol, and also was in on a $19.5 million settlement against Purdue Pharma regarding OxyContin.

State officials cannot comment about current cases involving major pharmaceutical firms, but Oregon’s campaign against Big Pharma is clearly far from finished. Leading the way has been assistant attorney general David Hart, who worked in health care prior to pursuing consumer law and is married to a pharmacist. Hart has served as lead investigator and negotiator on all of Oregon’s major drug company cases. “The money we’ve gotten in these settlements gets put to good use, but these cases aren’t about the money,” he says, “they’re about the rules we create and the light that we shed on these practices so that we can change them.”

Ken Johnson, vice president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said in a prepared statement that drug companies “are committed to providing accurate, educational information to patients and health professionals about their medicines.”


BEN JACKLET


To comment, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

More Articles

Carbon Power

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Researchers in a multitude of disciplines are searching for ways to soak up excess carbon dioxide, the compound that contributes to global warming.


Read more...

Party Like It’s 1999

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
pets-com-sock-puppetBY JASON NORRIS, CFA | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Pets.com, GeoCities, eToys, and WorldCom … blasts-from-the-past that all signify the late 1990s Internet bubble. Yet we believe the dynamics of the market, specifically in technology stocks, are much different today than it was during the late 1990s.


Read more...

Labor Pains

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Thinking about starting an internship program? Be careful. Navigating unpaid internships can be tricky.


Read more...

5 companies react to lower fuel prices

The Latest
Thursday, January 15, 2015
thumb-shutterstock 233787049BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Consumers love the savings they get from low oil prices, but how has business been affected?


Read more...

10 quotes explaining crisis at Port of Portland

The Latest
Friday, February 20, 2015
022015 port portland OBM-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.


Read more...

How Oregon will survive the loss of Hanjin

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT | OB CONTRIBUTOR

"Shipping containers to Portland is like waiting for a bus that travels once a day."


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS