Hare Wynn served as national counsel in a lawsuit on behalf of consumers involving the drug Vioxx that resulted in a $15,250,000 recovery.
“Merck executives and scientists had internal concerns about the safety risks of Vioxx,” said Matt Minner of Hare Wynn. “However, those concerns were not disclosed to the FDA or to consumers prior to Vioxx being put on the market.”
Studies conducted after Vioxx was released to the public showed that the drug increased the risk of heart attack and revealed that cardiovascular risk was increased by 500 percent for patients taking Vioxx versus a comparator drug. Instead of pulling the drug from the shelves or immediately warning physicians and consumers of the risk, Merck initiated the most expensive and aggressive marketing campaign in the history of the pharmaceutical industry to boost the sales of its drug. Merck denied any problems with its blockbuster drug and vigorously contested the claims but then, after yet another study showed a material increased cardiovascular risk, Merck was compelled to pull the drug from the market.
An important part of the resolution was the injunctive requirements to prevent Merck from from engaging in future deceptive marketing at the expense of consumers. Hare Wynn’s consumer protection team in this litigation included Scott Powell, Matt Minner, Brian Vines, Don McKenna and Tempe Smith.