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Merck reaches $950 million settlement over off-label marketing of Vioxx

The drug company will plead guilty, resolve criminal and civil charges

Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. agreed Tuesday to pay $950 million to settle criminal and civil charges surrounding the alleged false promotion of its painkiller Vioxx, which was withdrawn from the marketplace after claims of heart attacks and other injuries surfaced.

The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) said the company used illegal off-label marketing to promote Vioxx as a drug for treating rheumatoid arthritis before approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

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