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Merck Sued for Underhanded Marketing by Kentucky Attorney General

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Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has filed suit in Franklin Circuit Court against pharma giant Merck for violating Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Act in connection with Vioxx, the blockbuster painkiller that caused strokes and heart attacks, and was withdrawn from the market in September 2004.

The lawsuit against Merck alleges that beginning May 1999, the company launched an aggressive, deceptive Vioxx marketing campaign targeting health care professionals as well as consumers. The campaign, which touted Vioxx’s effectiveness in treating osteoarthritis, menstrual pain, and other forms of acute pain, didn’t include an increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes in its list of common side effects, even though Merck knew full well about this risk.

The suit also accuses Merck of commissioning ghostwriters to write and researchers to forge their names on purportedly “scholarly” articles (published in reputable journals including The Journal of the American Medical Association) whose true purpose was to further develop Vioxx’s name recognition and credibility.

Merck was aware of the potential for dangerous cardiovascular side effects, including heart attack and stroke, associated with Vioxx through internal studies, including Study 090, which was conducted in 1998. The results of Study 090 were not disclosed to the FDA or the public at the time Vioxx was introduced to the public.

"Consumers have a right to know all of the risks associated with the prescription drugs they take," said General Conway. "Merck relied on an aggressive marketing campaign to lure consumers into taking Vioxx and then concealed the increased health risks associated with the drug. This kind of deception puts consumers at risk and will not be tolerated in Kentucky." -Office of Attorney General

Merck carried out their incredibly successful Vioxx campaign in Kentucky for more than five years, all the while representing this dangerous drug as a “safer” and more effective alternative to more commonly prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

Just a few years ago, Vioxx was all the rage with doctors, hospitals, and patients all over the country. Now, it’s off the market and Merck is paying out nearly $5 billion in lawsuits for the strokes and heart attacks it negligently, greedily caused. The way Merck is now aggressively marketing its HPV vaccine Gardasil to America’s young people (before adequate testing has been performed) feels frighteningly similar to the way it handled Vioxx. Please read more about Gardasil’s adverse effects (and Merck’s blockbuster ad campaigns) if you are considering getting vaccinated or vaccinating your child.

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    To all victims of OxyContin in Kentucky
    Since the State of Kentucky is suing Purdue Pharma for the devastation OxyContin has caused in death and addiction throughout your state, please be aware that Attorney General Conway accepted a $50,000 check from an organization called NADDI which is funded by Purdue Pharma. So as AG Conway will be running for the US Senate of Kentucky, please remember this when you enter the voting booth. Ask yourself how your state could be suing a company responsible for an epidemic of death and addiction and your AG could accept money from them. If he explains it is because of budget cuts and they accept funds from “industry”, introduce him to your experience with OxyContin and tell him “Shame on him.”
    Marianne Skolek
    National Activist for Victims of OxyContin and
    Purdue Pharma – a criminally convicted pharmaceutical company

  2. Rosemary Mathis says:
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    My 13 year old daughter was injured by Gardasil and completely disabled for the past year. Merck got it right when they used the slogan “One Less” for Gardasil. Because of Gardasil, my daughter was “One Less”. She was “One Less Student”, “One Less Active Child”, “One Less in every aspect of her life”. Take it from a mother who has spent the past year sitting by my child’s bedside wondering if she would die in her sleep. INVESTIGATE BEFORE YOU VACCINATE. DO NOT trust your doctor to make this decision. If you want to understand Merck’s role in the medical community, investigate some of their former wonderdrugs such as VIOXX and then marvel at how many people died from it before it was pulled off the market. The CDC AND FDA need to do their job and get this off the market before more children are harmed. The public is not aware of VAERS and the #’s are grossly understated. I have had to tell my child’s doctors about VAERS and make them file reports or she would not be one of the current statistics in VAERS. Even then, her information has not been entered correctly so I know that VAERS is not what it should be. Please do not let this happen to your child. There is NO WAY that I will get my son this vaccine.

  3. Holland says:
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    Today we can learn our lessons from the past.
    So WHY is Gardasil still on the market?? Why are more and more girls harmed.??
    I have done research on this vaccine for more than a year now. And OH BOY, I am shocked.
    So much money is spend on convincing parents and girls to take this vaccine. So much misleading information is given. And what happens after the shot is given?? What happens if girls suffer from adverse reactions??
    They are left in the dark.
    Merck is making the same mistake with GARDASIL as they did with VIOXX.
    But Merck and also FDA and CDC are making an other big mistake.
    Parents care for their daughters, they love them with hart and soul. They are able to do their own research. The more girls getting harmed by this vaccine, the more parents wake-up. More people doing their own research and at the end non has any faith left in BIG FARMA.

  4. Teresa Allen says:
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    For any person that got the Gardasil vaccinations and did NOT have any side effects or symptoms, PLEASE go and have a pap test done immediately! We are getting reports of these girls that had no side effects to the vaccine that are now getting cervical lesions and cervical cancer. So if you know of anyone that received Gardasil with NO side effects, PLEASE tell them to get a pap test done immediately!

    My 16 yr old daughter was also injured by Gardasil. She had 2 of the 3 injections (Jan 9th and March 9th, 2009). Before Gardasil, she was a happy, healthy and vibrant teenager. Since Gardasil she is sick every day of her life. She has dizziness, overall weakness, numbness and tingling in both legs and left arm, back pain, neck pain, pressure headaches, vision problems, breathing problems, chest pains, racing heartbeats, brain fog, stomach problems, nausea, diarhea, weight loss, hair loss, jerking all over spells…the list goes on and on.

    She was an A/B student but failed her 10th grade year because she was too sick to retain what she was trying to learn (brain fog). She no longer has the energy to go off with her friends. Most days she lays in bed, in pain.

    This just doesnt happen to a healthy teenager!! And it just doesnt happen to THOUSANDS of other girls with no connection except they all had the Gardasil vaccine.

    It doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.

    Please educate yourself as much as you can before you allow anyone to push this unproven and unsafe vaccine on your daughter! The guilt is overwhelming from a mothers’ standpoint! I thought I was doing something to protect my daughter. Instead, I allowed the doctor to inject poison into my child and take away her life!

    These ‘side effects’ are NOT rare! They are happening every day to literally hundreds of thousands of young girls after receiving Gardasil. The numbers in VAERS is estimated to only be between 1-10% of the true numbers! Try asking some of us moms who have to deal with these horrible side effects every day if we consider it to be RARE!

    Everyone should look at the other side of the fence and research this. There are thousands of girls that are coming down with strange illnesses, paralysis, gran mal seizures, etc. after receiving Gardasil.

    We are now getting reports of girls as young as age 9 that are breaking out with genital warts and severe cases of cervical cancer AFTER receiving Gardasil. Some of these girls/women did not initially have any side effects from the vaccine.

    There are perfectly healthy girls all of a sudden come down with all of these strange sicknesses (some that I cant even pronounce) after getting jabbed with Gardasil. All within hours/days/weeks?

    Just like Merck’s ‘wonderful’ Vioxx…what will it take? How many dead/injured before someone takes notice?

    Educate Before You Vaccinate!!

  5. Penny Lane says:
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    All you mom’s who have daughter’s injured by Gardasil must unite. Maybe consider a meeting in a central location like Chicago. You must force the FDA and Congress to take action. Lawyers are hesitant to take these cases because they must to the vaccine court. Maybe lawsuits against doctors who recommend this poison may be an option. In Vioxx, no doctors were sued, because the doctors themselves where defrauded by Merck. This is different. Good luck moms.