NOTE: This case, along with a host of others alleging consumer fraud, have now been settled by an agreed order, since approved by Judge Cavanaugh, requiring the payment by New Merck of money damages. This federal case file was thus closed, effective February 23, 2010.
However, the various putative class actions for securities fraud, and ERISA breach of duties cases, as well as the shareholders' derivative cases, and at least two Congressional investigations, and a host of civil governmental inquiries -- both state and federal -- remain open, active and ongoing.
[UPDATED -- 07.29.08 4 PM EDT: Ed, over at Pharmalot, has featured this post! Cool!
11 PM EDT: Dr. Peter Rost has also linked, and featured the graphics from this one. Perfect! Thanks!
Later, Still: The Insider, across the pond, at PharmaGossip has linked this one, as well! Geez -- I guess that's a trifecta, of sorts!
07.31.08 AM-- Chris Truelove, at the Pharma Blog Review has run a teaser on this story, at the end of his, this week. Cool.
07.31.08 PM-- Adventures in Autism has captioned her link, to mine the "Merck Mafia(!?)" -- Ouch!]
The county government of Suffolk County, New York has filed a new civil suit against Schering-Plough (and the Joint Venture, and Merck, among others), overnight, in the federal district courts sitting in Newark, New Jersey. It makes some Consumer Protection Act/False Advertising allegations, but it also takes important new strides in alleging RICO pattern activity -- calling Schering's and Merck's conduct here "indictable".
"Now, that's gonna' leave a mark!" Take a look -- click to enlarge -- see the yellow bubble, and the red underlining, here on page 25 of the complaint:
Suffolk County, New York -- a governmental entity, now -- is alleging that Schering has engaged in what it sees as indictable predicate acts, under the RICO statutes.
There are already other RICO putative class action cases pending against Schering-Plough and Merck, but this is quite significant, in my experienced-estimation -- as at a minimum, it represents a new level of gravitas in the ENHANCE litigation malestrom now beseiging Schering-Plough and its executive leadership: a local-governmental agency is now effectively swearing that Schering has committed "RICO-indictable pattern racketeering" -- in (allegedly) concealing the ENHANCE results for almost two years -- while the good people of Suffolk County, New York were forced to pay greatly-inflated prices for a drug that was no more effective than those much cheaper statins.
For those keeping score at home, the suit is captioned Suffolk County, NY v. Merck Schering-Plough, et al., (Case No. 08-3711, Complaint filed July 28, 2008, DCM-MF, U.S. Dist. Ct., NJ).
I'll keep an eye on this one, for the readership. You may count on it.