Though there haven’t been any settlements yet for Propecia plaintiffs, Merck has paid billions of dollars to settle previous lawsuits.
Propecia (finasteride), the hair loss drug for men, has lasting sexual side effects, including reduced libido, impotence, and erectile dysfunction. As a result, roughly 1,400 lawsuits have been filed in a multidistriction litigation against Propecia’s maker, Merck.
Though there haven’t been any settlements yet for Propecia plaintiffs, Merck is no stranger to lawsuits. The company has shelled out millions (and in some cases, billions) of dollars to settle lawsuits for their damaging drugs. Propecia is likely to be no different.
$5 Billion Vioxx Settlement (2007)
In 2007, Merck paid nearly $5 billion to settle several lawsuits related to Vioxx, an arthritis medication. Vioxx was pulled from the market in 2004 after the drug was shown to double the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The FDA estimated that the drug had caused 30,000 deaths between 1999 and 2003.
Plaintiffs (50,000 in all) alleged that the company was aware of the cardiovascular risks of the drug, but failed to disclose them to patients. At the time, the $5 billion sum was one of the largest civil settlements in history.
$650 Million for Medicaid Fraud (2008)
In addition to dangerous medications, Merck has also paid millions of dollars for fraud.
They were found guilty of selling Vioxx, Zocor (a cholesterol drug), and Pecid (an antacid) at a 92% discounted rate to hospitals. Hospitals prescribed these medications to lower-income patients, who continued to use the pricey medications after they were released. Medicaid was forced to then pay the full premium price, despite the fact that cheaper alternatives were available.
It was estimated that Merck cheated the government of millions of dollars in discounts.
The law requires that the government pay no more than any other customer for a medication, making Merck’s questionable discounts illegal. Overall, it was estimated that Merck cheated the government of millions of dollars in discounts over eight years.
In 2008, Merck paid $650 million to settle with the U.S. Justice Department.
Merck Pays $950 million for Vioxx Marketing (2011)
In 2011, Merck settled yet another Justice Department charge, this time over its unlawful marketing of Vioxx.
Merck was accused of promoting Vioxx for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, before it was approved for that purpose by the FDA. The company was hit with $950 million in fines and penalties for their off-label marketing.
Merck was also found guilty of issuing false statements about the cadiovascular safety of Vioxx, which doubled the risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients.
$688 Million Vytorin Settlement (2013)
Merck’s shareholders filed two class action lawsuits against headquarters when it was revealed that the company concealed the poor results of Enhance, a clinical trial for Vytorin. The trial found that Vytorin, an anti-cholesterol drug, didn’t prevent buildup of plaque in the arteries any better than less expensive drugs.
When Enhance results were published in 2008, Merck shares fell 15%. Shareholders alleged that the company kept the results of the trial to themselves for more than a year. Merck paid $688 million to settle the lawsuits.
$100 Million NuvaRing Settlement (2014)
NuvaRing increases the risk of blood clots in women, in some cases resulting in heart attacks, strokes, and even death.
In 2014, Merck faced another set of lawsuits for a dangerous drug; this time, for NuvaRing. NuvaRing is a vaginal ring used for birth control. The device increases the risk of blood clots in women, in some cases resulting in heart attacks, strokes, and even death.
Product liability lawsuits filed against the company alleged that Merck downplayed the cardiovascular risks of NuvaRing. Though Merck denied any wrongdoing, they agreed to a $100 million settlement shared among the 3,800 plaintiffs.
Merck Pays Another $830 Million for Vioxx: (2016)
Twelve years after its voluntary recall in 2004, Merck was still paying for Vioxx. Investors alleged that the company misled them about the safety of the anti-inflammatory drug, which doubled the risk of heart attacks in patients.
Merck paid $830 million to settle the class action securities lawsuit.
The first of Merck’s 1,400 Propecia lawsuits will go to trial in September 2017. Based on the company’s history, they are likely to settle. Until then, ClassAction.com will continue to provide you with the latest class action settlement information.