ALSO NOTED: Merck settles 27,000 Vioxx suits; Amgen, J&J anemia drugs get stronger warnings; and much more...

> Merck's fight-'em-hard strategy for Vioxx lawsuits may have been part of a larger plan to persuade thousands of plaintiffs to make a deal. After winning most of the 20 suits it defended in court, the drug giant now is set to announce that it's settled 27,000 suits covering some 47,000 plaintiffs. Report

> Analyst say the new warnings for Amgen's anemia drugs are 'not bad'. Report

> In the battle of the cholesterol meds, Crestor just got a new weapon. The FDA approved AstraZeneca's application to market the drug not just for lowering cholesterol, but to treat hardening of the arteries, too. It's the first statin to win approval for that indication. Report

> The tidal wave of generics has reached Japan. That country's government has proposed changes to prescription forms that would promote use of cheaper generics. Japanese copycat-drug companies saw their stocks soar on the news. Branded drug makers' shares declined. Report

And Finally... The case of the pain-reliever lollipop is a wrap. Cephalon has agreed to pay $425 million to settle government investigations into its marketing practices. Report