Merck agrees to Pay Record $250 Million Fraud Settlement

February 7, 2008.

The United States Department of Justice announced a global resolution of two fraud claims against Merck. One such suit was filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana by J. Marc Vezina of the firm.

The matter entitled USA ex rel Lacorte v Merck, #99-3807 led to a record settlement of $250 Million for Merck's concealment from Medicaid of the actual prices paid by hospitals throughout the United States as required by law. As a result, Medicaid overpaid Merck hundred of millions of dollars for Pepcid from the program reserved for the poor and disabled, our nation's most vulnerable population.

J. Marc Vezina led a litigation team that consisted of representatives from the Department of Justice, the United States Attorneys Office in New Orleans, and Assistant Attorneys General from the Medicaid Fraud units is 17 states.

This case was significant in that a new model of prosecuting health care fraud integrating private counsel, Federal and State Attorneys was employed with amazing results. J. Marc Vezina and his team reviewed hundred of thousands of documents and compiled massive databases that allowed the Government team to quickly evaluate both liability and damage models.

As to the efforts of the team led by J. Marc Vezina, the Government said in its announcement to the Court after an 8 year investigation and litigation: "This required a painstaking review of hundreds of thousands of pages of internal Merck documents and Examinations Under Oath (EUOs) of key Merck current and former employees. Although relator LaCorte was neither a Merck employee nor an insider, his former counsel provided substantial material assistance to the Government team and its investigation while serving as LaCorte’s counsel."

J. Marc Vezina is the principal of Vezina Law Group and can be reached at 248-558-2701.