Things aren’t going so well lately in the litigation department for Merck, which stands accused of lying according to not just one, but two class-action lawsuits.
In the first case, two former Merck virologists accuse their former employer of overstating the effectiveness of the mumps vaccine in Merck’s combination MMR shot, which may have cost the US government hundreds of millions of dollars over the past decadei.
Merck’s mumps vaccine was originally licensed 45 years ago. Since the 1970s, it’s been part of the trivalent measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which is part of the recommended childhood vaccination schedule. The case, which was initially filed in 2010, was unsealed late last month. As reported by the Courthouse News Serviceii:
“… Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski were Merck virologists who claim in their unsealed complaint that they “witnessed firsthand the improper testing and data falsification in which Merck engaged to artificially inflate the vaccine’s efficacy findings.”
… As the largest single purchaser of childhood vaccines (accounting for more than 50 percent of all vaccine purchases), the United States is by far the largest financial victim of Merck’s fraud,” according to the 2010 False Claims Act complaint.”
According to Nasdaq.comiii:
“Merck–which stressed that none of these allegations relate to the safety of its product–said the lawsuit is “completely without merit”, and that it plans to “vigorously defend itself.”
It’s quite interesting to note the chosen language in Merck’s rebuttal. It in no way addresses the issue of the vaccine’s effectiveness, which is the core issue of the lawsuit and the allegation by the two former Merck employees that the drug company purposefully used improper testing methods and falsified data to make the mumps vaccine appear highly effective when the opposite was true. Instead, Merck responds by saying that none of the lawsuit’s allegations relate to the safety of its products. Such evasive maneuvering certainly gives the appearance of an admission of guilt.