Becnel leads way in Vytorin lawsuit

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 18, 2008


Editor and Publisher

LAPLACE – No sooner than news was released on Monday that a new drug named Vytorin had questionable results in its claim of lowering cholesterol, St. John Parish attorney Daniel Becnel Jr. was compiling a list of 5,000 plaintiffs in just three days that led him to file for class action status on his newest national lawsuit.

Becnel filed for class action status on his suits in Cleveland, Ohio, New York City and New Orleans, which represented “about 5,000 clients,” he said.

“I have taken the lead on this case,” he said. “This could be a huge case.”

Vytorin is one of the newest drugs which claims to have cholesterol-lowering powers, and was a combination of the drugs Zetia and Zocor, reportedly having better results than its predecessors. However studies are now showing that Vytorin not only did not perform as well as Zocor, but created other problems medically, Becnel said in his lawsuit.

Zetia was developed by Schering-Plough Corporation, and Zocor was a product of Merck & Company, the two national drug manufacturers Becnel has targeted in his lawsuits.

“Vytorin was supposed to be a much better drug for cholesterol since it combined the two,” he explained. “But now there are studies coming out that show it didn’t even perform as well as a generic drug.”

On top of that, Becnel said that there is evidence of top ranking officials with those drug companies knowing about the ineffectiveness of Vytorin, as half a million prescriptions were being written a month.

“There were executives with these drug companies who made fortunes knowing the drug was useless,” Becnel said. “That makes this whole situation even worse than the simple fact the drug isn’t doing what they say.”

Becnel said the drug not only doesn’t lower cholesterol as promoted, but studies are showing it increases plaque buildup in arteries, leading to other medical problems.

Becnel had been interviewed by USA Today, Fox News and the New York Times as a lead attorney in the new suit against Vytorin.

The profitability of the cholesterol-lowering drugs is almost unprecedented, with top market players such as Lipitor bringing in $8.6 billion a year, and Zocor bringing in $3.1 billion a year, according to Becnel.

Vytorin was already bringing in $5 billion a year, according to the lawsuit filed by Becnel.

Becnel said he is able to put together the large number of people for his lawsuits in such short time with Internet sites which seek those affected by the drugs.