Merix Pharmaceutical Sues GlaxoSmithKline for Deceptive Promotion of Popular Herpes and Cold Sore Drugs

Lawsuit Underscores Ongoing Controversy Over Pharmaceutical

Marketing Excesses



Mar 21, 2005, 00:00 ET from Merix Pharmaceutical Corporation

    CHICAGO, March 21 /PRNewswire/ -- In a case that pits a leading
 pharmaceutical company against one of the behemoths of the pharmaceutical
 industry, Merix Pharmaceutical Corporation has filed a complaint against
 GlaxoSmithKline, L.P. for false advertising and unfair competition in its
 campaign to promote drugs for herpes and cold sores.
     The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern
 District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and charges that advertising claims
 made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are false and misleading, using unreliable test
 data to promulgate advertising claims in an intentional effort to deceive
 doctors and the public.
     GSK's false claims for its Abreva and Valtrex products violate multiple
 Illinois laws as well as the federal Lanham Act, according to the lawsuit. The
 lawsuit alleges that the claims directly and severely harm Merix, which
 manufactures RELEEV, a competing over-the-counter product for herpes and cold
 sore treatment, as well as consumers. Merix is seeking preliminary and
 permanent injunctive relief to halt the GSK campaign.
     According to the Merix suit, the false advertising threatens immediate and
 severe damage to the RELEEV brand. Merix has made a longstanding and careful
 investment in the goodwill that the brand enjoys in the marketplace.
     The suit alleges that public disclosures of GSK's own research undermine
 the claims that it makes for both Abreva and Valtrex for healing herpes
 symptoms and cold sores. According to the lawsuit, some studies have even
 shown that the active ingredient in Abreva, an over-the-counter ointment,
 could not out-perform a placebo, yet, in its $100 million ad campaign, GSK
 publicly claims that it is just as effective as a prescription drug. Abreva
 sells at a similar price as RELEEV.
     The lawsuit also alleges that GSK's claims for Valtrex, an oral
 prescription drug, are similarly unsupportable. The suit claims that GSK has
 no basis to conclude from any testing that was done that Valtrex has any
 effect beyond the itching and tingling phase once a herpes outbreak has
 actually occurred.  Yet, as the lawsuit alleges, GSK now makes the broad claim
 one-day cold sore treatment.
     "We are confident the court will agree that this matter requires immediate
 action, not only to protect Merix, but to protect the marketplace as well,"
 said Meryl Squires, president of Merix Pharmaceutical Corporation.
 
     For more information and copies of the filing, please contact:
 
      Ronald Rothstein, Esq.
      Winston & Strawn LLP
      Telephone:  (312) 558-7464
      Email: rrothstein@winston.com
 
      Leslie Valenza
      Telephone: (202) 973-1320
      Email: lvalenza@levick.com
 
 

SOURCE Merix Pharmaceutical Corporation
    CHICAGO, March 21 /PRNewswire/ -- In a case that pits a leading
 pharmaceutical company against one of the behemoths of the pharmaceutical
 industry, Merix Pharmaceutical Corporation has filed a complaint against
 GlaxoSmithKline, L.P. for false advertising and unfair competition in its
 campaign to promote drugs for herpes and cold sores.
     The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern
 District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and charges that advertising claims
 made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are false and misleading, using unreliable test
 data to promulgate advertising claims in an intentional effort to deceive
 doctors and the public.
     GSK's false claims for its Abreva and Valtrex products violate multiple
 Illinois laws as well as the federal Lanham Act, according to the lawsuit. The
 lawsuit alleges that the claims directly and severely harm Merix, which
 manufactures RELEEV, a competing over-the-counter product for herpes and cold
 sore treatment, as well as consumers. Merix is seeking preliminary and
 permanent injunctive relief to halt the GSK campaign.
     According to the Merix suit, the false advertising threatens immediate and
 severe damage to the RELEEV brand. Merix has made a longstanding and careful
 investment in the goodwill that the brand enjoys in the marketplace.
     The suit alleges that public disclosures of GSK's own research undermine
 the claims that it makes for both Abreva and Valtrex for healing herpes
 symptoms and cold sores. According to the lawsuit, some studies have even
 shown that the active ingredient in Abreva, an over-the-counter ointment,
 could not out-perform a placebo, yet, in its $100 million ad campaign, GSK
 publicly claims that it is just as effective as a prescription drug. Abreva
 sells at a similar price as RELEEV.
     The lawsuit also alleges that GSK's claims for Valtrex, an oral
 prescription drug, are similarly unsupportable. The suit claims that GSK has
 no basis to conclude from any testing that was done that Valtrex has any
 effect beyond the itching and tingling phase once a herpes outbreak has
 actually occurred.  Yet, as the lawsuit alleges, GSK now makes the broad claim
 one-day cold sore treatment.
     "We are confident the court will agree that this matter requires immediate
 action, not only to protect Merix, but to protect the marketplace as well,"
 said Meryl Squires, president of Merix Pharmaceutical Corporation.
 
     For more information and copies of the filing, please contact:
 
      Ronald Rothstein, Esq.
      Winston & Strawn LLP
      Telephone:  (312) 558-7464
      Email: rrothstein@winston.com
 
      Leslie Valenza
      Telephone: (202) 973-1320
      Email: lvalenza@levick.com
 
 SOURCE  Merix Pharmaceutical Corporation