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Merck & Co. has another settlement under its belt. Last week the pharmaceutical company agreed to pony up more than $650 million to the government, resolving allegations that it overcharged both state and federal Medicaid programs for its popular and pricey medications Vioxx and Zocor. Eric Holder Jr., a partner at Covington & Burling in the District and a former deputy attorney general in the Justice Department, represented Merck in the case, as did Morgan, Lewis & Bockius’ Lisa Dykstra, a partner in the firm’s Philadelphia office. Holder and Dykstra deferred to Merck for comment. Covington has represented Merck in legal matters for the past 30 years, and former Covington partner Bruce Kuhlik was appointed the company’s general counsel last July, replacing Kenneth Frazier. The settlement, which is one of the largest Medicaid fraud recoveries, is the culmination of seven years of litigation that began when a former Merck employee, H. Dean Steinke, alerted authorities to suspicious marketing practices. Steinke received around $68 million from the settlement as a whistle-blower reward. According to a company statement, Merck admitted no wrongdoing by settling. Merck also settled the Vioxx litigation in November for $4.9 billion.
Attila Berry can be contacted at [email protected].

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