Two former Merck scientists have filed lawsuits against the company for misrepresenting efficacy results of its mumps vaccine
Two former virologists for Merck have filed lawsuits against the company for misrepresenting efficacy results of its mumps vaccine. A US district judge from Pennsylvania, Darnell Jones II, has ruled that the pair of whistleblowers have provided enough evidence to begin a trial.
Merck has had a monopoly over the mumps vaccine since 1967 as the sole pharmaceutical company to have a license from the FDA to produce it. The company has always claimed that the vaccine has a 95% efficacy rate, but this may not be true.
The whistleblowers have alleged that when testing the efficacy of their mumps vaccine, Merck performed tests against a weakened, attenuated for of the virus used to make the vaccine. Instead, the vaccine should have been tested against a wild-type, non-weakened strain of the mumps virus, as is standard protocol. As such, the efficacy of the vaccine turned out to be greater than it would have been had it been tested against a normal strain of the mumps virus.
This has implications for competitors, because if a vaccine is already 95% effective, then it is not logical for competitors to develop their own vaccine. This misrepresentation would have allowed Merck to gain a market monopoly with their mumps vaccine.
Merck has stated that the claims are only valid if they “rest on a finding that the vaccine label is misbranded.”
As the lawsuit ensues and details of the fraud are revealed, it may encourage other pharmaceutical companies to develop more effective vaccines against the virus.
Read more about it here: Lawsuits claiming Merck lied about mumps vaccine efficacy headed to trial.