It was announced on Tuesday that Merck will pay upwards of $950 million as a means of resolving investigations carried out regarding the company’s marketing tactics of their painkiller Vioxx. The corrupt, profit-driven company is planning to pay $321.6 million in criminal fines while the remaining $628.4 million goes toward a civil settlement agreement. Merck will also be pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge due to false advertising and deceptive marketing tactics by marketing Vioxx as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis – all without FDA approval. While the amount of money Merck must pay may seem rather large, the company makes billions of dollars selling their disease-riddled products.
Vioxx has a fairly dangerous history with problems revolving around the drug for many years. In 2004 Merck was forced to pull Vioxx off the market due to its link with over 27,000 heart attacks and sudden cardiac death. This pull was after Vioxx had been approved for 5 years, which shows that either the company failed miserably to make these problems evident through tests and studies, or the problems with Vioxx were knowingly hidden.
Merck has been found to hide severe adverse reactions and side effects in the past, with the company failing to mention the link between the Gardasil vaccine and death — or even the other 3,589 harmful reactions.
Whether Vioxx’s pull from the market caused a massive stir or people were finally tying their problems with the drug, Merck was not too happy in 2007. The company ended up paying a whopping $4.85 billion to settle nearly 50,000 lawsuits directly related to Vioxx.
The settlement which Merck is paying for resolves allegations that Merck made the false claims and unproven statements surrounding the safety of Vioxx in order to increase sales. Merck states that there is no “basis” to prove upper-level management in the company had anything to do with the profit-generating false advertisements. While this statement is unlikely true and expressed in lawyer talk, the company portrays an incredible lack of responsibility with their upper management allegedly not involved.
Let’s not forget that Merck is the same company pushing deadly Gardasil on young boys and girls, even without parental consent. The Gardasil shot led to 3,589 harmful reactions and 16 deaths between May 2009 and September 2010 alone. Of the 3,589 adverse reactions, many were debilitating. Permanent disability was the result of 213 cases; 25 resulted in the diagnosis of Guillain-Barre Syndrome; there were 789 other “serious” reports according to FDA documents.
Merck is just one of many mega corporations motivated by money and power. Knowing the history of such a company is vital before getting involved with whatever the company has to offer.