July 4, 2007 |
A federal judge ruled that Merck & Co. must defend lawsuits over its Vioxx painkiller, rejecting an argument that U.S. regulations preclude patients from claiming they weren't warned about the drug's risks. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in New Orleans denied Merck's request to dismiss two cases on the grounds that the Vioxx warning label was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
May 14, 2007 |
When Merck launched a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign last year to promote Gardasil, its new vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, company officials probably did not anticipate that its signature phrase -- "one less" -- would apply not just to malignancies but also to physicians. Yet that slogan has come to symbolize the response of doctors.
May 13, 2007 |
Young children needing immunization against chickenpox and three other diseases probably will have to get an extra shot because of manufacturing problems that have cut production of a four-disease combo vaccine made by Merck & Co. Merck said that its ProQuad vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella as well as chickenpox, won't be available from about July until at least year's end.
April 13, 2007 |
A painkiller proposed as a successor to Vioxx should not be approved, a panel of federal health advisors recommended to the FDA. The nonbinding 20-1 vote was on the prescription drug Arcoxia, made by Merck & Co. Inc. A Food and Drug Administration drug safety expert had told the panel the drug might substantially increase the risk of stroke and heart attack and was no more effective for pain relief than other medicines in the same class.
March 27, 2007 |
Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. plan to dig more deeply into the lucrative market for cholesterol-lowering drugs by developing a pill that combines their drug Zetia with Lipitor, the world's bestselling medicine. Pfizer Inc.'s U.S. patent on Lipitor is expected to expire as soon as 2010, paving the way for other companies to make generic versions of the blockbuster drug. Pfizer is not involved in the deal.
March 13, 2007 |
Merck & Co.'s Vioxx painkiller helped cause an Idaho mail carrier's heart attack, a New Jersey jury found, ordering the drug maker to pay him and his wife $47.5 million in a retrial of a case the man originally lost. Jurors in Atlantic City imposed actual damages of $20 million and punitive damages of $27.5 million after ruling that Vioxx was partly to blame for Frederick Humeston's 2001 heart attack.
March 3, 2007 |
Jurors in New Jersey found that Merck & Co. failed to provide adequate warnings about health risks tied to its withdrawn arthritis drug Vioxx in one case, but they decided that it gave adequate warning in another in two suits tried simultaneously.
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.