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General Health : Drug News Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Merck sued in New York for allegedly hiding Vioxx risk
By Ben Wasserman
Sep 18, 2007 - 6:31:25 PM

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TUESDAY September 18, 2007 ( -- Vioxx caused trouble again for Merck & Co. Inc.   The company got sued Monday by the State and City of New York for allegedly defrauding Medicaid and other government insurance programs by hiding the heart risk of the drug, The Associated Press reported.


The lawsuit filed in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court by the New York state Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and new York city major Michael Bloomberg says Merck's withholding of the risk information on Vioxx has resulted in a loss of tens of millions of dollars for the state and city.


According to the court papers cited by The AP, the state's Medicaid and Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage programs have paid more than $100 million since 1999 for Vioxx, the once popular painkiller that has been known now for increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.  


Vioxx was withdrawn from the marker in September 30, 2004 after evidence emerged to show that it doubled risk of heart attack and stroke, probably killing tens of thousands of heart patients in the United States, a FDA drug reviewer commented early.

Vioxx has courted more than 27,000 cases of lawsuits of which more than 1,170 have been dismissed.   Among the cases that have reached verdicts, Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., has won nine, but lost five, The AP reported.

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