Thursday, April 19, 2007
Merck Profit Jumps, Vioxx Lawsuits Decline Slightly
Article in the Washington Post -- Merck Net Jumps 12 Percent, by Linda A. Johnson of the Associated Press. Here's an excerpt:
Merck & Co. Inc. said Thursday its first-quarter profit jumped 12 percent, as the drugmaker posted sharply higher sales of its asthma and cholesterol drugs, plus one-time gains from product divestitures.
Meanwhile, the number of personal injury lawsuits in the massive litigation over the painkiller Vioxx, which Merck withdrew from the market in September 2004 due to increased risk of heart attack and stroke, declined slightly for the first time.
Merck said it now faces 27,250 personal injury lawsuits over Vioxx, including 45,700 plaintiff groups. That's actually down slightly from the 27,400 Merck reported in January. The company said more than 4,600 lawsuits had been dismissed as of March 31, although 3,550 of them could be refiled later.
Merck also has agreements with 13,700 claimants halting the statute of limitations for them to sue. The company has been fighting lawsuits individually, and in cases that have reached verdicts, it has won 10 and lost five.