J&J/Merck sues over Tagamet ads

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Johnson & Johnson/Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals Co., Fort Washington, Pa., stepped up the heartburn remedy warfare Thursday, filing suit against SmithKline Beecham for false advertising and promotional claims made for Tums and Tagamet HB against Pepcid AC Acid Controller. J&J/Merck is seeking a preliminary injunction and also asks for corrective advertising and punitive and actual damages. This follows a recent suit filed by SmithKline Beecham accusing J&J/Merck of making false claims for Pepcid AC.

In the suit, J&J/Merck said recent ads for Tagamet HB and Tums falsely claim that Pepcid AC does not begin to work for one to two hours, and that Tagamet HB works faster. It also charges SmithKline Beecham has falsely claimed in advertising that doctors prefer Tagamet HB to Pepcid AC by a margin of seven to one.

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