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Merck, Schering-Plough announce settlement, close of investigation of anti-cholesterol drugs, related trial


WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Two drug makers and their joint venture announced that they settled with a group of attorneys general from 35 states and the District of Columbia investigating whether they violated consumer protection laws with regard to two anti-cholesterol drugs and a related clinical trial.

Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp., as well as joint venture Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, said Wednesday that they had reached the settlement in connection with the drugs Vytorin (ezetimibe and simvastatin) and Zetia (ezetimibe) or ENHANCE, a clinical trial comparing the drugs.

As part of the resolution, the companies have agreed to reimburse the investigative costs, which total $5.4 million, but they are not required to make any other payment. They have also agreed to comply with the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act and other laws requiring truth in marketing.

“Today’s agreement is consistent with our belief that the companies conducted the ENHANCE trial in good faith and that their promotion of Vytorin and Zetia was in compliance with the law,” Merck EVP and general counsel Bruce Kuhlik said in a statement.

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