For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: June 14, 2012

Idaho Recovers $285,000 in Medicaid Settlement with Merck

(Boise) - Idaho received $285,991 in a settlement with Merck over allegations of illegal marketing of its drug, Vioxx, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. $96,689 in restitution has been returned to the Idaho Medicaid Program and $189,302 in other recoveries and interest has been deposited in the state’s general fund for appropriation by the Legislature.

The settlement settles civil allegations that Merck marketed Vioxx for uses not approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), misrepresented the cardiovascular safety issues relating to the drug and otherwise made false and misleading representations about Vioxx.

Vioxx was approved by the FDA in 1999 for the treatment of osteoarthritis, acute pain conditions and dysmenorrhea. On September 30, 2004, Merck voluntarily withdrew Vioxx from the market worldwide, citing an increase in the incidence of adverse cardiovascular events in patients taking Vioxx.

The Attorney General alleged that Merck made false representations concerning the safety of Vioxx to Idaho’s Medicaid program and the Medicaid program relied on that information in making formulary and prior authorization decisions with respect to the drug.

The Attorney General also alleged that Merck made false or misleading representations about Vioxx in its marketing, advertising and promotion of the drug that caused physicians to write prescriptions for Vioxx that they otherwise would not have written, causing Medicaid to pay for prescriptions that should not have been reimbursed.

Wasden’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Division of Medicaid participated in the settlement with Merck.

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