March 1, 2007 |
Merck & Co. raised its earnings forecast for the first quarter on higher demand for new drugs including a cervical cancer vaccine and a diabetes pill. First-quarter profit probably will be 63 cents to 67 cents a share when costs for job cuts and plant closings are excluded, said Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck. The forecast beat the average estimate of 59 cents a share, excluding restructuring costs, of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
February 21, 2007 |
Merck & Co., bowing to pressure from parents and medical groups, is immediately suspending its lobbying campaign to persuade state legislatures to mandate that adolescent girls get the company's new vaccine against cervical cancer as a requirement for school attendance. The drug maker, which announced the change Tuesday, had been criticized for quietly funding the campaign, via a third party, to require that 11- and 12-year-old girls get the three-dose vaccine in order to attend school.
February 14, 2007 |
The Food and Drug Administration said it was notifying healthcare providers and consumers about reports of about 28 cases of infants suffering a serious bowel condition after receiving Merck & Co.'s new vaccine against rotavirus. The FDA said it was not clear how many of the 28 reported cases were caused by the vaccine. It said the condition, known as intussusception, can occur in the absence of vaccination.
January 31, 2007 |
Merck & Co.'s profit fell as generic competition eroded sales of its top-selling cholesterol pill Zocor, and Wyeth reported a fifth straight earnings increase on demand for new arthritis and pneumonia treatments. Merck, the third-largest U.S. drug maker, said Tuesday that net income dropped 58% in the fourth quarter, partly because of costs for acquiring a gene technology that won a Nobel Prize last year. Madison, N.J.
December 22, 2006 |
A judge in a Texas widow's lawsuit over the Merck & Co. drug Vioxx on Thursday reduced a $32-million jury award to $8.7 million so that it conformed to state law. A state jury in April found Merck liable for the 2001 death of Leonel Garza, a 71-year-old man who had a fatal heart attack within a month of taking the since-withdrawn painkiller.
December 16, 2006 |
A Birmingham, Ala., jury handed Merck & Co. its second victory of the week in a Vioxx product liability trial, finding the drug maker did not hide the health risks associated with its withdrawn arthritis drug, or knowingly market a faulty product. Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck had been sued by Gary Albright, 59, who blamed Vioxx for his 2001 heart attack.
December 14, 2006 |
Merck & Co.'s Vioxx painkiller didn't cause a Tennessee man's 2003 heart attack, a federal jury ruled. Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck withdrew Vioxx in 2004 after a study showed it doubled the risk of heart attacks. Anthony Wayne Dedrick, a 51-year-old smoker who, according to his lawyer, has diabetes, high cholesterol, a family history of heart disease and a history of cocaine use, suffered a heart attack after going on Vioxx.
December 13, 2006 |
Merck & Co. expects to seek U.S. approval in 2007 for drugs to treat HIV, cholesterol and insomnia, and it aims to have four more products in late-stage trials by midyear, the company said Tuesday. The products due to be in late-stage trials are MK-524B, which raises "good" HDL cholesterol; weight-loss drug MK-364, which works through the same mechanism as Sanofi-Aventis' Acomplia; MK-974 for migraine headaches; and MK-822, which treats osteoporosis by blocking a protein called Cathepsin K.
December 7, 2006 |
Merck & Co. expects slightly higher profit in 2007 on sales growth from newer drugs and product launches, including a successor to the withdrawn painkiller Vioxx, the company said Wednesday. The Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based company reiterated its earnings forecast for 2006: $2.18 to $2.25 a share, or $2.48 to $2.52 excluding charges for facility closures and severance pay under a restructuring program that has eliminated 3,900 of the 7,000 jobs to be cut by the company.
November 23, 2006 |
Thousands of federal lawsuits claiming the drug Vioxx caused heart attacks and other conditions that killed or injured people cannot be pooled into one national class action, a judge ruled Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon, who was appointed to deal with pretrial matters for all federal suits involving Merck & Co.'s withdrawn painkiller, did not rule on the possibility of separate personal injury class-action suits for each state and the District of Columbia.