New York City and New York State File Suit Against MERCK Alleging Medicaid Fraud

Both New York City and New York State have joined together and, following the example of various other states, including Louisiana Mississippi and Utah, have filed suit against Merck& Company.

It is alleged that Merck not only defrauded consumers but also defrauded the state Medicaid program and other government insurance programs by purposefully concealing the dangerous side effects of Vioxx.

Vioxx was prescribed to patients for the treatment of migraines and arthritis but caused a high increase in heart attacks and strokes, and was pulled off the market in September of 2004.

Medicaid claims that had Merck been forthcoming of the aforesaid risks, doctors would not have prescribed the drug, which Medicaid often paid for. In fact, between the year 1999, when Vioxx was first placed on the market, and 2004, when it was taken off, Medicaid and the State’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program spent over $100 million on Vioxx prescriptions in New York.

Medicaid is requesting restitution from Merck, the third largest drug manufacturer, for tax dollars spent on the purchase of this drug and for the treatment of patients that have been plagued with its side effects.

Specifically, the suits center on drug pricing and safety. It is claimed that the dangers of the drug were known before the drug was withdrawn from the market in 2004.

According to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, suit is being made pursuant to a new state false-claims act that permits triple damages and civil penalties. According to Mayor Bloomberg, “This is another step in the city’s continuing litigation effort to recoup the millions of dollars in overcharges by pharmaceutical companies to the Medicaid program for prescription drugs, and to protect the safety and health of New Yorkers.”

Many lawsuits to recover damages for personal injuries are presently pending against Merck. The personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience in handling personal injury claims involving dangerous and defective products. If you or someone close to you has been injured by a drug that was not properly labeled, contact the offices of Levine & Slavit for their help. Levine & Slavit has offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas including Westchester County.

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