The nev­er-end­ing Zostavax sto­ry – in court. Mer­ck gets a win, but thou­sands more law­suits pend­ing

Mer­ck hasn’t sold Zostavax in the US since 2020, but that’s not stop­ping the law­suits. Thou­sands of cas­es charg­ing Zostavax side ef­fects, ef­fi­ca­cy is­sues and ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing com­plaints are still work­ing their way through courts across the coun­try.

Es­ti­mates of more than 2,000 cas­es stand, al­though Mer­ck has been pick­ing up some wins late­ly. Its most re­cent dis­missal on Tues­day ab­solved the drug­mak­er in a class ac­tion case in Ohio charg­ing that Mer­ck’s “ag­gres­sive mar­ket­ing cam­paign” for Zostavax con­tained false claims around ef­fec­tive­ness and pro­tec­tion du­ra­tion. It al­leged, for in­stance, that Mer­ck pro­mot­ed a 51% ef­fec­tive­ness rate, when it was ac­tu­al­ly low­er for old­er age groups. The law­suits claimed Mer­ck vi­o­lat­ed Ohio con­sumer sales prac­tice laws.

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