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Merck & Co. will face about 40,000 claims over its withdrawn Vioxx painkiller once deadlines for filing lawsuits lapse around the U.S., court records and lawyer estimates show.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 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.
September 14, 2006 |
Merck & Co. will face two plaintiffs at its second California trial over the painkiller Vioxx. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney on Tuesday overruled Merck's objections to trying the two cases simultaneously. Rudolph Arrigale, 77, and Lawrence Appell, 57, claim that Vioxx caused their heart attacks. Merck could have faced as many as four plaintiffs at next month's trial.
September 7, 2006 |
A report commissioned by Merck & Co.'s board said Wednesday that the drug maker's top executives did not knowingly put patients at risk in developing and marketing Vioxx, the popular arthritis drug withdrawn after a study showed that it increased heart risks. The 20-month review of the drug company's conduct concluded that Merck management "acted with integrity" in the development and marketing of Vioxx, said former Manhattan federal judge John Martin, who led the probe.
August 18, 2006 |
Merck & Co. suffered two setbacks Thursday in litigation over its withdrawn painkiller Vioxx, with a Newport Beach product-safety lawyer playing a lead role in one of those losses. In New Orleans, a federal jury ordered Merck to pay $51 million to a health-conscious retired FBI agent who suffered a heart attack at age 58 after taking the blockbuster drug for about 2 1/2 years.