Merck Settles

Merck & Co., a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical manufacturer, has announced the preliminary settlement of the securities class action pending against the company in the D. of New Jersey. The case is actually two cases – against Merck and Schering-Plough Corp. – based on the companies’ failure to disclose the bad results of a clinical trial of the anti-cholesterol drug Vytorin (which the companies jointly sold). Merck and Schering-Plough merged in 2009. The cases were scheduled to go to trial next month.

The settlement is for $688 million, with the company paying $215 million to resolve the securities class action against the Merck defendants and $473 million to resolve the securities class action against the Schering-Plough defendants. (Note that this case is different than the Vioxx-related securities class action against Merck that led to a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision. The Vioxx-related case is still pending and class certification was granted last month.)

There is extensive press coverage of the settlement, including in the New York Times, Reuters, and Bloomberg.

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