The lawsuit filed by attorney general Bill McCollum claims the drugmaker's "repeated failure" to disclose the adverse effects of the infamous painkiller, while offering it to the state’s Medicaid program as a safe medication, directly violates Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The lawsuit follows a three-year investigation of Merck’s promotional practices of Vioxx and alleges that, due to its marketing practices, numerous state agencies approved the inclusion of Vioxx as a covered or approved drug and agreed to pay for the prescription or reimburse its expense. Vioxx purchases by the Florida Medicaid program alone exceeded $80 million between 1999 and 2004.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit claims Merck’s "costly promotional campaign was intended to convince purchasers that the drug was not only safe, but that they should demand it from their health care professionals for pain treatment." Alaska, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Texas and Utah have brought similar suits, as has New York City. Here is the lawsuit.