Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Announces $6 Million Settlement with Merck

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, May 15, 2012  
Contact Information:  Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)

Attorney General Jack Conway today announced that he has recovered $6 million on behalf of the Kentucky Medicaid program following a settlement with Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. f/k/a Merck & Co., Inc. This is the latest in a number of settlements in so-called Average Wholesale Price or AWP lawsuits filed by the Office of the Attorney General against 47 of the nation's largest pharmaceutical companies.

The lawsuits filed by the Attorney General allege that Merck and the other defendant drug companies published false, inflated and deceptive AWPs for their drugs, which did not bear any relationship to the real prices that they actually charged their customers. The Kentucky Medicaid program relied on these published AWPs to calculate Medicaid drug reimbursement rates.

"As a result of Merck's deceptive business practices, the Kentucky Medicaid program paid millions of dollars more in drug reimbursements than it should have," General Conway said. "I am pleased that we were able to recover this money for the Medicaid program and Kentucky taxpayers."

Merck is one of the largest healthcare companies in the world. Merck manufactures the popular brand drugs Fosamax (osteoporosis), Pepsid (antacid), Singulair (asthma and allergic rhinitis), Vioxx (anti-inflammatory pain reliever) and Zocor (cholesterol) as well as numerous other drug products.

General Conway's Office of Consumer Protection is pursuing additional litigation against Merck for false, misleading, or deceptive statements regarding the safety of its pain reliever Vioxx, which Merck pulled from the market in 2004. The case is scheduled for trial in Franklin Circuit Court in the fall of 2013.

Since Attorney General Conway took office in January 2008, his Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control has recovered or been awarded more than $230 million for the state and federal Medicaid programs. These cases range from lawsuits and settlements against pharmaceutical companies to cases against individual providers.

The Attorney General's Tip Line for reporting allegations of Medicaid fraud is 1-877-228-7384.