For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: July 15, 2009

Idaho To Receive $100,000 in Vytorin Settlement

(Boise) – Idaho will receive $100,000 from a legal settlement with the manufacturers of the cholesterol lowering drug Vytorin, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. Wasden joined the attorneys general of 35 other states in the $5.4 million settlement with Merck & Co. Inc, Shering-Plough Corporation, and a joint venture of the two companies, MSP Singapore Company, LLC.

The settlement resolves an investigation into the companies’ lengthy delay in releasing negative results from a clinical trial known as ENHANCE. The study showed that Vytorin, a combination of Zetia and simvastatin, was no more effective in reducing plaque formation in carotid arteries than the cheap, generically available drug simvastatin. Although the study ended in May 2006, a partial reporting of negative results did not occur until January 2008. Complete results were not published until April 2009. Vytorin had been heavily promoted in direct-to-consumer advertisements before the study results were released.

“Idahoans trying to cope with ever-increasing health care costs need accurate information in order to make good decisions when they have a choice between a brand name drug and a generic drug,” Attorney General Wasden said. “Drug manufacturers owe it to their customers to release information about the effectiveness of their products in a timely way.”

As a result of the settlement, the injunctive relief from Merck’s 2008 Vioxx settlement with the states will apply to Zetia and Vytorin. Terms that now apply to Vytorin and Zetia are requirements to:

  • Obtain pre-approval from FDA for all direct-to-consumer television advertisements;
  • Comply with FDA suggestions to modify drug advertising;
  • Register clinical trials and post their results;
  • Prohibit ghost writing of articles;
  • Reduce conflicts of interest for Data Safety Monitoring Boards that ensure the safety of participants in clinical trials; and
  • Comply with detailed rules prohibiting the deceptive use of clinical trials.

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