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Merix Pharmaceutical Sues GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) For Deceptive Promotion Of Popular Herpes And Cold Sore Drug


10/19/2005 5:13:05 PM

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

Merix Pharmaceutical Corporation

CONTACT: Ronald Rothstein, Esq., of Winston & Strawn LLP,+1-312-558-7464, rrothstein@winston.com; or Leslie Valenza, +1-202-973-1320,lvalenza@levick.com, both for Merix Pharmaceutical Corporation



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