Category Archives: RICO Suit Class action February 7

RICO Suit Filed against Schering-Plough.

First RICO Suit filed — seeking class action certification — 02.07.08

Well, it was only a matter of time. A rather comprehensive, RICO Act, 65 page complaint has been filed on behalf of the Iron Workers Health Fund of Eastern Michigan. The case citation:

IRON WORKERS HEALTH FUND OF EASTERN MICHIGAN, v. MERCK & CO., INC., SCHERING-PLOUGH CORPORATION, MERCK/SCHERING-PLOUGH PHARMACEUTICALS, and MSP SINGAPORE COMPANY LLC, No. 08-cv-695 (D.N.J., Complaint Filed February 7, 2008).

Here are the central RICO allegations:

. . . .Violation of § 1962(c) of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968

. . . .Section 1962(c) of the RICO Act makes it “unlawful for any person employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt.”

. . . .Defendant Schering-Plough is a legal entity capable of holding a legal or beneficial interest in property and is a proper defendant “person” within the definition of the RICO Act, § 1961(4).

As described throughout this Complaint, both Defendant Merck and Defendant Schering-Plough beginning in April 2006 engaged in a pattern of fraudulent, racketeering activity through their joint ventures, Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals (“MSP”) and MSP Singapore Company, LLC (“MSPSC”). . . .

[The complaint alleges they did so, by, among other devices:]

Before and throughout the Class Period, Defendants’ express, implied and unmistakable message relative to Vytorin and Zetia was that high cholesterol was bad for one’s health because it caused increased plaque formation, which in turn has been associated with an increased risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

The equally unmistakable corollary message in Defendants’ ads was that Vytorin, by combining Zetia and Zocor, was a superior medication to statins in the treatment of high cholesterol, increased plaque formation, and the associated risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. In one advertisement, Defendants compared Vytorin to “regular” statins and claimed to be superior at reducing LDL cholesterol and the “[r]isk for heart disease, heart attack or stroke”. . . .

The results of the ENHANCE study shocked the medical community as it directly contradicted Defendants’ claim that by lowering LDL, Zetia also contributed to slowing or reducing the buildup of arterial plaque.

Moreover, there is no evidence of any kind to support a claim that Zetia contributes to slowing or reducing the buildup of arterial plaque. In an article dated November 21, 2007, the New York Times quoted Dr. Eric J. Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California, as saying, “Statins have diverse effects beyond simple LDL cholesterol lowering, such as potent anti-inflammatory actions. There has yet to be a clinical trial to show that ezetimibe improves clinical outcomes.” . . .

RICO provides for trebling of damages — that is, damages may be TRIPLED, if a RICO pattern activity has occurred, and is proved at trial. This is very serious stuff — now, SGP and MRK will have their day in court — but this takes the dispute to a new level.

First there were consumer fraud claims, then securitites fraud claims, then FDA violations alleged. . . now, racketeering/criminal enterprise allegations.

Here’s an updated, but only partial, listing of the suits now pending, in federal courthouses, around the country — All as of February 7, 2008 — over 85 at SGP’s last published-count:

Rita Polk v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-285 (D.N.J.);

Jay Klitzner v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-316 (D.N.J.):

Sandra Weiss v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-320 (D.N.J.);

Lionel Galperin v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-349 (D.N.J.);

Robert J. McGarry v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough

Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-350 (D.N.J.);

Charles D. Maurer and Sidney Cooper v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-393 (D.N.J.);

Daniel A. Brown v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-395 (D.N.J.);

Steven Knight v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough
Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-396 (D.N.J.);

Michael P. Maina v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-409 (D.N.J.);

Ken W. Bever v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-430 (D.N.J.);

David DeAngelis v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-431 (D.N.J.);

Ciro Verdi and Eileen Verdi v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-432 (D.N.J.);

Marilyn Woodman v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-437 (D.N.J.);

Scott Smoler v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough
Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-482 (D.N.J.);

Danette Agovino, Richard Axenty, Bambi Chapman, Maia Erlikhman, Semen Erlikhman, Peter V. Grant, Roxanne Hitt, Donald Kerin, Gail Kerin, Charles Miller, Debbie Nielsen, Cheryl A. Olszewski, Jeffrey J. Panek, and Howard Weber v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp, and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-500 (D.N.J.)

Marc Crawford, Florence DiBenedetto, Phyllis Reiff, Cynthia White and Gilbert L. White v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-582 (D.N.J.);

Thomas E. Brandon, Jaret E. Brown, Paul J. Farinelli, Sr., Andrew Knall, Glenda Parker, Kurt W. Seestrom, Thomas J. Searls, Steven Weston, and Harold J. Versprille v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, (D.N.J.);

Roseanne S. Flores v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-674 (E.D. La.);

Dennis Kean v. Merck & Co., Inc. and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-061 (S.D. Ohio);

Panayiotis Balaouras v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals,, No. 08-cv-198 (N.D. Ohio);

Theodore Sahley v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-153 (N.D. Ohio);

Sigmond Tomaszewski v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Scherling[sic]-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-258 (E.D.N.Y.);

Joyce B. Rheingold v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering Corp. d/b/a Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-438 (S.D.N.Y.);

Andrew Schwaeber v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-344 (E.D.N.Y.);

Marion J. Greene v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-69 (M.D. Fla.);

Sam A. Ciotti v. Merck & Co., Inc., Scherling[sic]-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-60077 (S.D. Fla.);

Ronna Dee Kitsmiller v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-120 (D. Colo.);

Jody Fischer v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Corp. d/b/a Schering-Plough Corp., and
Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-203 (D. Minn.);

Daniel L. Tollefson, Sr. v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Corp. d/b/a Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-220 (D. Minn.);

Fred Singer v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-331 (E.D. Pa.);

John P. Dudley v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and MSP Singapore Co., LLC, No. 08-cv-1027 (D. Kan.);

Charles Swanson and Michael Jurich v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Inc. d/b/a
Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-2040 (D. Kan.);

Alexis Alicea Figueroa, his spouse Carmen Ruiz Pagan, and the Conjugal Partnership formed by them, Miguel Robledo Gomez, his spouse Ileana Vega, and the Conjugal Partnership formed by them v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-1099 (D.P.R.);

Lisa Mims v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-10 (N.D. Miss.);

Susan McCulley v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-16 (N.D. Miss.);

George Artenstein v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., Schering Corp., Schering Plough Healthcare Products, Inc., Schering-Plough Biopharma Corp., and Schering Plough Healthcare Products Sales Corp., No. 08-cv-152 (E.D. Cal.);

Helen Aronis v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., Schering Corp., Schering Plough Healthcare Products, Inc., Schering-Plough Biopharma Corp., and Schering Plough Healthcare Products Sales Corp., No. 08-cv-152 (E.D. Cal.);

ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 Health Benefits Trust and Claudia Edwards v. Merck & Co., Inc.,

Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-531 (N.D. Cal.);

Roberto DeLeon v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-34 (S.D. Tex.);

Robert S. Love v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-19 (E.D. Tex.);

John Carl Adams v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-69 D.N.M.);

Chong Badgley v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-123 (E.D. Mo.); and

Steve Dillon, John Weathers, and Ruth Weathers v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-4021 (W.D. Mo.).

The above complaint also alleges consumer fraud, and common law fraud counts, and does a great job of running down the scientific data that DOES NOT support Vytorin’s ad and web-claims — with lots of graphics, which will appear in a new post, here shortly.

This will be difficult to step around, as the gist of it is that one cannot market an FDA regulated, and licensed, drug substance without scientific evidence for the claimed benefits — and, to do so, repeatedly, would make out a RICO pattern, where, as here, billions were made when far cheaper substitutes would have done the same job.

Cheers!

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RICO Suit Filed against Schering-Plough.

First RICO Suit filed — seeking class action certification — 02.07.08

Well, it was only a matter of time. A rather comprehensive, RICO Act, 65 page complaint has been filed on behalf of the Iron Workers Health Fund of Eastern Michigan. The case citation:

IRON WORKERS HEALTH FUND OF EASTERN MICHIGAN, v. MERCK & CO., INC., SCHERING-PLOUGH CORPORATION, MERCK/SCHERING-PLOUGH PHARMACEUTICALS, and MSP SINGAPORE COMPANY LLC, No. 08-cv-695 (D.N.J., Complaint Filed February 7, 2008).

Here are the central RICO allegations:

. . . .Violation of § 1962(c) of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968

. . . .Section 1962(c) of the RICO Act makes it “unlawful for any person employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt.”

. . . .Defendant Schering-Plough is a legal entity capable of holding a legal or beneficial interest in property and is a proper defendant “person” within the definition of the RICO Act, § 1961(4).

As described throughout this Complaint, both Defendant Merck and Defendant Schering-Plough beginning in April 2006 engaged in a pattern of fraudulent, racketeering activity through their joint ventures, Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals (“MSP”) and MSP Singapore Company, LLC (“MSPSC”). . . .

[The complaint alleges they did so, by, among other devices:]

Before and throughout the Class Period, Defendants’ express, implied and unmistakable message relative to Vytorin and Zetia was that high cholesterol was bad for one’s health because it caused increased plaque formation, which in turn has been associated with an increased risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

The equally unmistakable corollary message in Defendants’ ads was that Vytorin, by combining Zetia and Zocor, was a superior medication to statins in the treatment of high cholesterol, increased plaque formation, and the associated risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. In one advertisement, Defendants compared Vytorin to “regular” statins and claimed to be superior at reducing LDL cholesterol and the “[r]isk for heart disease, heart attack or stroke”. . . .

The results of the ENHANCE study shocked the medical community as it directly contradicted Defendants’ claim that by lowering LDL, Zetia also contributed to slowing or reducing the buildup of arterial plaque.

Moreover, there is no evidence of any kind to support a claim that Zetia contributes to slowing or reducing the buildup of arterial plaque. In an article dated November 21, 2007, the New York Times quoted Dr. Eric J. Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California, as saying, “Statins have diverse effects beyond simple LDL cholesterol lowering, such as potent anti-inflammatory actions. There has yet to be a clinical trial to show that ezetimibe improves clinical outcomes.” . . .

RICO provides for trebling of damages — that is, damages may be TRIPLED, if a RICO pattern activity has occurred, and is proved at trial. This is very serious stuff — now, SGP and MRK will have their day in court — but this takes the dispute to a new level.

First there were consumer fraud claims, then securitites fraud claims, then FDA violations alleged. . . now, racketeering/criminal enterprise allegations.

Here’s an updated, but only partial, listing of the suits now pending, in federal courthouses, around the country — All as of February 7, 2008 — over 85 at SGP’s last published-count:

Rita Polk v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-285 (D.N.J.);

Jay Klitzner v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-316 (D.N.J.):

Sandra Weiss v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-320 (D.N.J.);

Lionel Galperin v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-349 (D.N.J.);

Robert J. McGarry v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough

Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-350 (D.N.J.);

Charles D. Maurer and Sidney Cooper v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-393 (D.N.J.);

Daniel A. Brown v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-395 (D.N.J.);

Steven Knight v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough
Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-396 (D.N.J.);

Michael P. Maina v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-409 (D.N.J.);

Ken W. Bever v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-430 (D.N.J.);

David DeAngelis v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-431 (D.N.J.);

Ciro Verdi and Eileen Verdi v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-432 (D.N.J.);

Marilyn Woodman v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-437 (D.N.J.);

Scott Smoler v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough
Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-482 (D.N.J.);

Danette Agovino, Richard Axenty, Bambi Chapman, Maia Erlikhman, Semen Erlikhman, Peter V. Grant, Roxanne Hitt, Donald Kerin, Gail Kerin, Charles Miller, Debbie Nielsen, Cheryl A. Olszewski, Jeffrey J. Panek, and Howard Weber v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp, and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-500 (D.N.J.)

Marc Crawford, Florence DiBenedetto, Phyllis Reiff, Cynthia White and Gilbert L. White v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-582 (D.N.J.);

Thomas E. Brandon, Jaret E. Brown, Paul J. Farinelli, Sr., Andrew Knall, Glenda Parker, Kurt W. Seestrom, Thomas J. Searls, Steven Weston, and Harold J. Versprille v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, (D.N.J.);

Roseanne S. Flores v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-674 (E.D. La.);

Dennis Kean v. Merck & Co., Inc. and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-061 (S.D. Ohio);

Panayiotis Balaouras v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals,, No. 08-cv-198 (N.D. Ohio);

Theodore Sahley v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-153 (N.D. Ohio);

Sigmond Tomaszewski v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Scherling[sic]-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-258 (E.D.N.Y.);

Joyce B. Rheingold v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering Corp. d/b/a Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-438 (S.D.N.Y.);

Andrew Schwaeber v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-344 (E.D.N.Y.);

Marion J. Greene v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-69 (M.D. Fla.);

Sam A. Ciotti v. Merck & Co., Inc., Scherling[sic]-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-60077 (S.D. Fla.);

Ronna Dee Kitsmiller v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-120 (D. Colo.);

Jody Fischer v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Corp. d/b/a Schering-Plough Corp., and
Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-203 (D. Minn.);

Daniel L. Tollefson, Sr. v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Corp. d/b/a Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-220 (D. Minn.);

Fred Singer v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-331 (E.D. Pa.);

John P. Dudley v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and MSP Singapore Co., LLC, No. 08-cv-1027 (D. Kan.);

Charles Swanson and Michael Jurich v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Inc. d/b/a
Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-2040 (D. Kan.);

Alexis Alicea Figueroa, his spouse Carmen Ruiz Pagan, and the Conjugal Partnership formed by them, Miguel Robledo Gomez, his spouse Ileana Vega, and the Conjugal Partnership formed by them v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-1099 (D.P.R.);

Lisa Mims v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-10 (N.D. Miss.);

Susan McCulley v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-16 (N.D. Miss.);

George Artenstein v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., Schering Corp., Schering Plough Healthcare Products, Inc., Schering-Plough Biopharma Corp., and Schering Plough Healthcare Products Sales Corp., No. 08-cv-152 (E.D. Cal.);

Helen Aronis v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., Schering Corp., Schering Plough Healthcare Products, Inc., Schering-Plough Biopharma Corp., and Schering Plough Healthcare Products Sales Corp., No. 08-cv-152 (E.D. Cal.);

ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 Health Benefits Trust and Claudia Edwards v. Merck & Co., Inc.,

Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-531 (N.D. Cal.);

Roberto DeLeon v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-34 (S.D. Tex.);

Robert S. Love v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-19 (E.D. Tex.);

John Carl Adams v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-69 D.N.M.);

Chong Badgley v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-123 (E.D. Mo.); and

Steve Dillon, John Weathers, and Ruth Weathers v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-4021 (W.D. Mo.).

The above complaint also alleges consumer fraud, and common law fraud counts, and does a great job of running down the scientific data that DOES NOT support Vytorin’s ad and web-claims — with lots of graphics, which will appear in a new post, here shortly.

This will be difficult to step around, as the gist of it is that one cannot market an FDA regulated, and licensed, drug substance without scientific evidence for the claimed benefits — and, to do so, repeatedly, would make out a RICO pattern, where, as here, billions were made when far cheaper substitutes would have done the same job.

Cheers!

RICO Suit Filed against Schering-Plough.

First RICO Suit filed — seeking class action certification — 02.07.08

Well, it was only a matter of time. A rather comprehensive, RICO Act, 65 page complaint has been filed on behalf of the Iron Workers Health Fund of Eastern Michigan. The case citation:

IRON WORKERS HEALTH FUND OF EASTERN MICHIGAN, v. MERCK & CO., INC., SCHERING-PLOUGH CORPORATION, MERCK/SCHERING-PLOUGH PHARMACEUTICALS, and MSP SINGAPORE COMPANY LLC, No. 08-cv-695 (D.N.J., Complaint Filed February 7, 2008).

Here are the central RICO allegations:

. . . .Violation of § 1962(c) of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968

. . . .Section 1962(c) of the RICO Act makes it “unlawful for any person employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt.”

. . . .Defendant Schering-Plough is a legal entity capable of holding a legal or beneficial interest in property and is a proper defendant “person” within the definition of the RICO Act, § 1961(4).

As described throughout this Complaint, both Defendant Merck and Defendant Schering-Plough beginning in April 2006 engaged in a pattern of fraudulent, racketeering activity through their joint ventures, Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals (“MSP”) and MSP Singapore Company, LLC (“MSPSC”). . . .

[The complaint alleges they did so, by, among other devices:]

Before and throughout the Class Period, Defendants’ express, implied and unmistakable message relative to Vytorin and Zetia was that high cholesterol was bad for one’s health because it caused increased plaque formation, which in turn has been associated with an increased risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

The equally unmistakable corollary message in Defendants’ ads was that Vytorin, by combining Zetia and Zocor, was a superior medication to statins in the treatment of high cholesterol, increased plaque formation, and the associated risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. In one advertisement, Defendants compared Vytorin to “regular” statins and claimed to be superior at reducing LDL cholesterol and the “[r]isk for heart disease, heart attack or stroke”. . . .

The results of the ENHANCE study shocked the medical community as it directly contradicted Defendants’ claim that by lowering LDL, Zetia also contributed to slowing or reducing the buildup of arterial plaque.

Moreover, there is no evidence of any kind to support a claim that Zetia contributes to slowing or reducing the buildup of arterial plaque. In an article dated November 21, 2007, the New York Times quoted Dr. Eric J. Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California, as saying, “Statins have diverse effects beyond simple LDL cholesterol lowering, such as potent anti-inflammatory actions. There has yet to be a clinical trial to show that ezetimibe improves clinical outcomes.” . . .

RICO provides for trebling of damages — that is, damages may be TRIPLED, if a RICO pattern activity has occurred, and is proved at trial. This is very serious stuff — now, SGP and MRK will have their day in court — but this takes the dispute to a new level.

First there were consumer fraud claims, then securitites fraud claims, then FDA violations alleged. . . now, racketeering/criminal enterprise allegations.

Here’s an updated, but only partial, listing of the suits now pending, in federal courthouses, around the country — All as of February 7, 2008 — over 85 at SGP’s last published-count:

Rita Polk v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-285 (D.N.J.);

Jay Klitzner v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-316 (D.N.J.):

Sandra Weiss v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-320 (D.N.J.);

Lionel Galperin v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-349 (D.N.J.);

Robert J. McGarry v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough

Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-350 (D.N.J.);

Charles D. Maurer and Sidney Cooper v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-393 (D.N.J.);

Daniel A. Brown v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-395 (D.N.J.);

Steven Knight v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough
Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-396 (D.N.J.);

Michael P. Maina v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-409 (D.N.J.);

Ken W. Bever v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-430 (D.N.J.);

David DeAngelis v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-431 (D.N.J.);

Ciro Verdi and Eileen Verdi v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-432 (D.N.J.);

Marilyn Woodman v. Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., Inc., No. 08-cv-437 (D.N.J.);

Scott Smoler v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough
Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-482 (D.N.J.);

Danette Agovino, Richard Axenty, Bambi Chapman, Maia Erlikhman, Semen Erlikhman, Peter V. Grant, Roxanne Hitt, Donald Kerin, Gail Kerin, Charles Miller, Debbie Nielsen, Cheryl A. Olszewski, Jeffrey J. Panek, and Howard Weber v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp, and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-500 (D.N.J.)

Marc Crawford, Florence DiBenedetto, Phyllis Reiff, Cynthia White and Gilbert L. White v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-582 (D.N.J.);

Thomas E. Brandon, Jaret E. Brown, Paul J. Farinelli, Sr., Andrew Knall, Glenda Parker, Kurt W. Seestrom, Thomas J. Searls, Steven Weston, and Harold J. Versprille v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, (D.N.J.);

Roseanne S. Flores v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-674 (E.D. La.);

Dennis Kean v. Merck & Co., Inc. and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-061 (S.D. Ohio);

Panayiotis Balaouras v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals,, No. 08-cv-198 (N.D. Ohio);

Theodore Sahley v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-153 (N.D. Ohio);

Sigmond Tomaszewski v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Scherling[sic]-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-258 (E.D.N.Y.);

Joyce B. Rheingold v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering Corp. d/b/a Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-438 (S.D.N.Y.);

Andrew Schwaeber v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-344 (E.D.N.Y.);

Marion J. Greene v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-69 (M.D. Fla.);

Sam A. Ciotti v. Merck & Co., Inc., Scherling[sic]-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-60077 (S.D. Fla.);

Ronna Dee Kitsmiller v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-120 (D. Colo.);

Jody Fischer v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Corp. d/b/a Schering-Plough Corp., and
Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-203 (D. Minn.);

Daniel L. Tollefson, Sr. v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Corp. d/b/a Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-220 (D. Minn.);

Fred Singer v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-331 (E.D. Pa.);

John P. Dudley v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and MSP Singapore Co., LLC, No. 08-cv-1027 (D. Kan.);

Charles Swanson and Michael Jurich v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Inc. d/b/a
Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-2040 (D. Kan.);

Alexis Alicea Figueroa, his spouse Carmen Ruiz Pagan, and the Conjugal Partnership formed by them, Miguel Robledo Gomez, his spouse Ileana Vega, and the Conjugal Partnership formed by them v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-1099 (D.P.R.);

Lisa Mims v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-10 (N.D. Miss.);

Susan McCulley v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-16 (N.D. Miss.);

George Artenstein v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., Schering Corp., Schering Plough Healthcare Products, Inc., Schering-Plough Biopharma Corp., and Schering Plough Healthcare Products Sales Corp., No. 08-cv-152 (E.D. Cal.);

Helen Aronis v. Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., Schering Corp., Schering Plough Healthcare Products, Inc., Schering-Plough Biopharma Corp., and Schering Plough Healthcare Products Sales Corp., No. 08-cv-152 (E.D. Cal.);

ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 Health Benefits Trust and Claudia Edwards v. Merck & Co., Inc.,

Schering-Plough Corp., and Merck/Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals, No. 08-cv-531 (N.D. Cal.);

Roberto DeLeon v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-34 (S.D. Tex.);

Robert S. Love v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-19 (E.D. Tex.);

John Carl Adams v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-69 D.N.M.);

Chong Badgley v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-123 (E.D. Mo.); and

Steve Dillon, John Weathers, and Ruth Weathers v. Merck & Co., Inc., and Schering-Plough Corp., No. 08-cv-4021 (W.D. Mo.).

The above complaint also alleges consumer fraud, and common law fraud counts, and does a great job of running down the scientific data that DOES NOT support Vytorin’s ad and web-claims — with lots of graphics, which will appear in a new post, here shortly.

This will be difficult to step around, as the gist of it is that one cannot market an FDA regulated, and licensed, drug substance without scientific evidence for the claimed benefits — and, to do so, repeatedly, would make out a RICO pattern, where, as here, billions were made when far cheaper substitutes would have done the same job.

Cheers!