PA Settlement with Merck Funds PACE - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

PA Settlement with Merck Funds PACE

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced that the state has reached an $8.25 million settlement with Merck, maker of the prescription drug Vioxx.  After attorney fees and court costs, the Attorney General says $6.9 million of the settlement funds will support Pennsylvania's prescription assistance program known as PACE.  The program helps qualified senior citizens pay for their medications.

Pennsylvania's lawsuit against Merck alleged that the company failed to disclose its studies, which showed the use of Vioxx increased a user's risk of serious illnesses, such as heart attack and stroke.   Kane said, "Merck had a clear legal obligation to disclose known harmful side effects from Vioxx to both the medical community and patients. Companies that fail to reveal pertinent facts about side effects from their drugs should be aware there are legal and monetary costs to pay for misleading the citizens of Pennsylvania."

Vioxx was first approved by the FDA in 1999 as a painkiller.  It was eventually removed from the U.S. market amid reports that it was causing health problems including heart attack, stroke and death for some of its users.

The $8.25 million Pennsylvania settlement was negotiated by Cohen, Placitella and Roth, P.C., a Philadelphia based law firm.

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