December 28, 2006 |
U.S. regulators cleared six more companies to sell generic copies of Merck & Co.'s cholesterol drug Zocor, signaling steeper price reductions. The approvals posted on the Food and Drug Administration's website Wednesday are in addition to those granted to Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. of India in June, when Merck's patents expired.
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for the 2001 death of Leonel Garza, a 71-year-old man who had a fatal heart attack within a month of taking the since-withdrawn painkiller.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the week in a Vioxx product liability trial, finding the drug maker did not hide the health risks associated with its withdrawn arthritis drug, or knowingly market a faulty product.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slightly higher profit in 2007 on sales growth from newer drugs and product launches, including a successor to the withdrawn painkiller Vioxx, the company said Wednesday.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.
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.