US pension fund files lawsuit against Merck & Co., Schering-Plough over Vytorin, Zetia

Bloomberg reported Monday that a pension fund filed a lawsuit against Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough in the US, accusing the companies of having misled consumers into overpaying for Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin) and Zetia (ezetimibe) prescriptions.

According to the complaint filed on June 5 by the Pennsylvania Employees Benefit Trust Fund, the companies were allegedly aware for years that Zetia did not reduce fatty arterial plaques, and withheld the information from the public. In addition, the lawsuit claims that the drugmakers "suppressed" data from the ENHANCE trial, which compared Vytorin to Merck's Zocor (simvastatin) in patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia and found that there was no significant difference between treatment groups on the primary endpoint. The pension fund also alleges that Merck and Schering-Plough engaged in "false and deceptive" marketing practices by claiming that Vytorin was just as safe as, and more effective than, Zocor.

The plaintiff is seeking to recover more than $9 million spent on the drugs since October 2002. Merck spokesman Ron Rogers stated that "we believe the companies acted responsibly and appropriately and we intend to defend this lawsuit vigorously."

To read more Top Story articles, click here.