Merck can proceed with a lawsuit against the Kentucky Attorney General for violating its constitutional due process rights in its claims against Merck involving Vioxx. Why? A federal judge has found that Kentucky improperly struck a contingency fee arrangement with plaintiffs’ lawyers to sue Merck for their marketing of Vioxx.
Is this a new trend? Last year, a South Carolina judge allowed a similar claim by AstraZeneca against the South Carolina AG. My question for Merck and AstraZeneca is whether the juice is worth the squeeze. If you are Merck, you can’t be happy about anything that happened with Vioxx other than the fact that you settled the cases for a few billion less than you originally thought. Is it possible that you are losing the war even if you win this petty technical battle with Kentucky? I don’t think you gain a ton of moral high ground by screaming that you sued me for doing something wrong with the wrong lawyers. I can’t see John Q. Public covering your back on this. You have a lot of great products that are not hurting people. Spend your time talking about them and let your mistakes fade away.
Pharmalot has more on the story.