The lawyers who filed the suit charge Schering-Plough promoted Zetia heavily, advertising that by adding it to a statin treatment, patients could more effectively lower LDL cholesterol which they claim would, in turn, reduce plaque in patients' arteries. But they maintain the companies had prior information that refuted that claim.
Earlier this week, Merck and Schering-Plough released the Enhance results, which intended to show a correlation between lowered LDL levels and fatty plaques in the arteries, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. While the study showed that Vytorin lowered LDL cholesterol rates better than Zocor alone, it also showed that the fatty arterial plaques actually grew somewhat faster in patients taking Zetia along with Zocor than in those taking Zocor alone, according to Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro. This is the same law firm, by the way, that has filed average wholesale price lawsuits in federal court in Boston.
The suit also calls into question the timing of the study's release. According to the complaint, Merck and Schering-Plough knew the results of the trials but delayed sharing the findings with patients for nearly two years, but didn't change its marketing approach. Congress, by the way, is investigating the same allegation. The lawsuit seeks the return of money to purchasers of Vytorin and Zetia, but won't seek relief for personal injuries that anyone may allege resulted from taking Vytorin or Zetia.