In a statement issued by Merck, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in U.S., it agreed to pay $321 million as criminal fine and plead guilty for illegally introduction of the drug Vioxx in interstate commerce. As per the settlement case, the company will be paying a total of $950 million to different agencies. Vioxx was introduced as a pain killer and was approved by FDA in 1999. In 2002 Merck marketed the same drug as a treatment drug for rheumatoid arthritis.

As per law, pharmaceutical companies are not allowed to do marketing of their drugs except in ways approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agency. Manufacturers have to get proper approval from FDA to introduce a new drug in the market. Merck seems to have made a big mistake for illegally promoting the drug, Vioxx, for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. After a long investigation and trial, the company has agreed to pay $950 million to federal government and medical agencies and settle the cases.

In recent years many lawsuits have been filed against pharmaceutical companies that have been producing and selling drugs with side effects. Federal and state prosecutors are pushing these civil cases to be settled. Many of these lawsuits have alleged that the advertising and marketing of the products has been done in ways that would profit the companies without caring about the lives and safety of the people.

In United States and many other countries, manufacturers are barred from influencing the medical practitioners and physicians, as the companies can adopt any marketing strategy even false advertising to boost the sales of their drugs. However, many companies at times show negligence towards the law, thereby becoming the cause of various crisis situations. A lot of drugs with serious side effects have been sold, and even now are being sold, without adequate warning labels.

Many people are already suffering or have suffered because of the negligence of the manufacturers. It is time that cases like Merck’s prove to be exemplary for these companies.