Little did Merck & Co. know that when it purchased drug manufacturer Warrick Pharmaceuticals the purchase would end up costing the company a verdict of guilty in federal court.
But the jury spoke loud and clear. On September 2010, and after a three-week trial, a Boston jury found Merck guilty of fraud and awarded the state of Massachusetts approximately $4.6 million in compensatory damages–the punitive damages award could be exorbitant.
The verdict came after evidence strong enough to convince the jury indicated that Warrick Pharmaceuticals, now Merck & Co., had overcharged Massachusetts pharmacists for generic versions of the asthma medication albuterol.
But Merck won’t go down without a fight: The New Jersey company intends to appeal the verdict and hopes the court of appeals will find the prices Warrick reported to other government entities were accurate.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time Merck gets in trouble with the law. Just last month, the company was ordered to pay $1.5 million to a Florida woman whose consumption of Fosamax, an osteoporosis drug, caused her to develop osteonecrosis of the jaw – a condition marked by pain, swelling, infection and exposed bone. Merck also manufactures Gardasil, a popular cervical cancer vaccine that has been linked to blood clots, fainting, and seizure-like activity.