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slightly higher profit in 2007 on sales growth from newer drugs and product launches, including a successor to the withdrawn painkiller Vioxx, the company said Wednesday.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Judge Eldon Fallon, who was appointed to deal with pretrial matters for all federal suits involving Merck & Co.'s withdrawn painkiller, did not rule on the possibility of separate personal injury class-action suits for each state and the District of Columbia.
November 16, 2006 |
A federal jury cleared Merck & Co. in the July 2003 heart attack suffered by a Utah bank credit manager who had taken the once-popular painkiller Vioxx for 10 1/2 months. Charles Laron "Ron" Mason, 64, of Salt Lake County, Utah, began taking Vioxx after years of taking anti-inflammatory drugs because of back pain. Merck won two previous federal cases and lost the third. In state court, it has won three cases and lost three.
November 8, 2006 |
Merck & Co. said it might have to pay about $3.8 billion to the Internal Revenue Service in connection with disputed expenses on its tax returns, about $1.5 billion more than the Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based drug maker previously reported. The IRS has sent Merck notices that it won't allow a capital loss and proposes "recharacterizing a loan from a foreign subsidiary to the company as a taxable distribution" on its 1995 to 1998 tax forms, Merck said.
October 31, 2006 |
Pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. said Monday that it had agreed to pay an eye-popping $1.1 billion to buy Sirna Therapeutics Inc., a tiny biotechnology firm developing drugs based on new technology at the heart of last month's Nobel Prize for medicine award. Merck's $13-a-share offer for the San Francisco-based company is almost a 102% premium over Sirna's closing stock price of $6.45, down 5 cents during regular trading. The bid was made public after the markets closed.
October 21, 2006 |
Drug makers Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., partners on their crucial cholesterol drugs, saw their shares climb Friday after posting third-quarter earnings. But they pleased Wall Street for different reasons. Schering-Plough reported double-digit sales growth and a nearly sevenfold leap in profit, compared with a quarter depressed by a hefty charge. Chief Executive Fred Hassan told analysts that the Kenilworth, N.J.
October 4, 2006 |
Merck & Co. will face about 40,000 claims over its withdrawn Vioxx painkiller once deadlines for filing lawsuits lapse around the U.S., court records and lawyer estimates show. Most suits over the drug have been filed in state courts in New Jersey and California or are being managed by a federal judge in New Orleans. Merck faced about 30,000 claims in those courts just before a key Sept. 30 deadline, court officials said.
September 27, 2006 |
Merck & Co. isn't liable for the heart attack of a Kentucky man who took its Vioxx drug, a U.S. jury decided Tuesday in the first trial involving the use of the painkiller after the company issued a stronger warning label. Robert Garry Smith, 56, a manager at a chemical plant, began taking Vioxx in 2002, after the medication's label was changed to reflect a study showing that the drug raised the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
September 23, 2006 |
A judge granted Merck & Co. attorneys access to bank and cellphone records that could show the extent of a juror's financial relationship with a plaintiff who won a $32-million verdict in the death of a man who took the painkiller Vioxx. Juror Jose Manuel Rios, who earns $22,000 a year as a school janitor, testified in a post-trial deposition to borrowing as much as $10,000 interest-free from widow Felicia Garza, the plaintiff in the lawsuit against Merck.
September 22, 2006 |
Merck, the German drug maker that lost a bid to acquire rival Schering this year, said Thursday that it had purchased a majority stake in Swiss biotechnology company Serono. The transaction is part of a takeover worth 16.6 billion Swiss francs ($13.3 billion) that will expand Merck's range of drugs and increase its share of the global biotechnology market. Merck of Germany is the oldest drug company in the world and has been separate from the U.S.-based Merck & Co. since the end of World War I.