A lawsuit held in New Jersey federal court alleged that executives for a drug manufacturer withheld vital study information concerning a cholesterol lowering drugs out of fear that the release of such information would adversely affect sales. The medication was thought to be a defective product in that promises of the drug’s effectiveness was brought into question.
The medication was still marketed as effective nearly 2-years after the study suggested otherwise. Part of the settlement of the federal lawsuit is for the company’s research branch to now inform the company’s board of directors regarding delays in making the clinical trial information available to the public.
It’s probably not surprising that a business would attempt to conceal unfavorable information that may lead to a decline in sales. However, obviously the problem with such an approach is that it led to consumers taking the drug based on information that may or may not have been true when these individuals were trying to deal with a medical issue.
The drug manufacturer has made claims that delays in bringing out the information were necessary as the issues in the data needed to be analyzed in greater detail. Though making sure that the data is correct is an admirable goal, this didn’t prevent the company from continually marketing the drug.
An added benefit of product liability suits being put in place by clients and their attorneys is that it does tend to keep such companies honest. Without such lawsuits, misleading information authored by companies may continually be presented to the public without any means to fact check the inaccuracies. Ultimately, when such practices become known due to such lawsuits, the company either has to be forthright and attempt to make better products or lose profits.
Source: Fox Business, “Merck legal Settlement to Bolster Clinical Data Reporting,” Feb. 29, 2012