DEFENDANT NAME: Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corporation
COURT: U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
PRACTICE AREA: Pharmaceutical Fraud
STATUS: Settled
DATE FILED: 01/17/08

Hagens Berman was appointed co-lead counsel in this pharmaceutical fraud class-action lawsuit against Schering-Plough (NYSE: SGP) and Merck (NYSE: MRK), in which the class claimed the companies knowingly misled consumers on the use of popular prescription drugs Zetia and Vytorin.

The case was filed on Jan. 17, 2008 in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey. Judge Dennis Cavanaugh approved and ordered an organizational structure consisting of five law firms to comprise a Plaintiffs Steering Committee which is responsible for coordinating plaintiffs during pretrial proceedings and more. The lawsuit claims Schering-Plough and Merck violated state consumer protection laws arising from the sale and marketing of Zetia and Vytorin.

Zetia is a brand-name prescription drug used to lower LDL levels by decreasing cholesterol absorption in the intestinal tract. Vytorin is a combination of Zetia and Zocor, a statin available in generic form.

The suit claims that the combination of drugs was no more effective than the generic version of Zocor in blocking the fatty arterial plaques that can cause heart attack and stroke, as the manufacturers led consumers to believe since 2006. The companies promoted Zetia heavily, claiming that by adding it to statin treatment, patients could more effectively lower LDL cholesterol which would, in turn, reduce plaque in patients' arteries, according to their advertisements. According to the complaint, the companies had prior information that refuted that claim.


The Vytorin/Zetia Fraud Case is In Re: Vytorin/Zetia Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Case No. 193, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

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09/21/09: Case Settled

Hon. Dennis M. Cavanaugh granted preliminary approval of a $41.5 million settlement on behalf of consumers and third party payers.

06/10/08: Hagens Berman Appointed Co-Lead Counsel

The U.S. District Court in New Jersey appointed Hagens Berman, along with four other firms, co-counsel in the case.