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Merck Co Inc

November 15, 2007 | Daniel Costello, Times Staff Writer
The $4.85-billion settlement offered last week by pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. to patients stricken by heart attacks and strokes after taking the company's painkiller Vioxx could mean the end to one of the most unpleasant and costliest chapters in the pharmaceutical industry's history. But could it unravel? About 47,000 plaintiffs have until March 1 to decide whether to take immediate payouts estimated to range from $50,000 to $1.5 million.
November 10, 2007 | Molly Selvin, Times Staff Writer
Merck & Co.'s decision to pay $4.85 billion to settle tens of thousands of claims from patients who took the popular painkiller Vioxx may stiffen the resolve of other companies facing litigation over pharmaceutical products or other consumer goods. The settlement, announced Friday, may also vindicate the drug maker's initial strategy of aggressively fighting virtually every injury claim, legal experts said.
November 9, 2007 | From Times Staff and Bloomberg News
Merck & Co., after setting aside nothing to resolve liability over its Vioxx painkiller, may pay about $5 billion to settle claims that it hid the health risks of its withdrawn drug, three lawyers with direct knowledge of the accord said. Merck, the third-largest U.S. drug maker, pulled Vioxx off the market in 2004 after a study showed it raised the risk of heart attacks in some patients.
July 26, 2007 | From Times Wire Services
The increased heart risk from Vioxx, Merck & Co.'s withdrawn arthritis medicine, begins much earlier than after 18 months of use, according to a study contradicting assertions by the drug maker and its scientists. The 2,434-patient study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was halted early when the medicine was pulled from the market in September 2004. Although the median duration of treatment was only 7.
July 4, 2007 | From Times Wire Services
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 | Sandra G. Boodman, Washington Post
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 | From Times Wire Services
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 28, 2007 | From the Associated Press
The Food and Drug Administration rejected Merck & Co.'s request to market a successor to its withdrawn arthritis drug Vioxx in the U.S., the drug maker said Friday. The decision was widely expected after a panel of FDA advisors two weeks ago voted 20 to 1 against approving the drug, called Arcoxia. Arcoxia is one of the anti-inflammatory drugs known as Cox-2 inhibitors, which are touted as less likely to cause stomach bleeding or pose other dangers, but they have been linked to heart risks.
April 13, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
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.
April 12, 2007 | Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Times Staff Writer
Less than a month after proposing a stricter conflict-of-interest policy for outside experts, the Food and Drug Administration has included three doctors with financial ties to the drug industry on a panel that will evaluate the first successor to the pain reliever Vioxx. A special advisory panel of doctors and scientists will meet today to weigh approval of the new drug, Arcoxia.
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