Merck Wins Case Filed by Louisiana Attorney General Involving VIOXX®

The Second Victory for Merck in a State Attorney General Lawsuit

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Merck & Co., Inc. said today that it had prevailed in all respects in a trial of claims brought by the State of Louisiana related to Vioxx. The case was tried before federal district court Judge Eldon E. Fallon without a jury.

In ruling for Merck, Judge Fallon stated that "the weight of the evidence indicates that Vioxx has gastrointestinal benefits as compared to traditional NSAIDs" and further stated that Merck's marketing of the gastrointestinal benefit was "consistent with the conclusions of their clinical trials."

Concerning the State's argument that it would have restricted sales of Vioxx had it known more information, the Court observed that "the State of Louisiana did not meet their burden of showing that they could and would have established an exclusive formulary and excluded Vioxx from it had the State known different information about the drug." On the contrary, the Court said that "the record shows, in fact, that neither LDHH [Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals] nor any reasonable department of health and hospitals would have attempted to establish an exclusive Medicaid formulary for the sole purpose of cutting off reimbursements of Vioxx."

“We believe the evidence showed that Merck acted appropriately by labeling Vioxx under the direction of the FDA and according to the evolving science available at the time it was on the market,” said Tarek Ismail, of Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum LLP, outside counsel for Merck.

Bruce N. Kuhlik, executive vice president and general counsel of Merck, stated that "Merck is pleased with the court's decision. We have consistently maintained that we acted responsibly and communicated accurate information about the safety of Vioxx to physicians, patients and governmental authorities."

The Louisiana case is the first Vioxx lawsuit brought by a state attorney general to go to trial. This case was filed in 2005 in Louisiana state court by the Louisiana Attorney General's Office. In the only other State Attorney General lawsuit in which a Court has ruled, Merck was awarded summary judgment in a case filed by the Texas Attorney General.

Merck is represented in the Louisiana AG case by Tarek Ismail, of Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum LLP and Travis J. Sales of Baker Botts LLP.

About Merck

Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Merck. Be well. For more information, visit www.merck.com.

Merck Forward-Looking Statement

This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger between Merck and Schering-Plough, including future financial and operating results, the combined company’s plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical facts. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the possibility that the expected synergies from the merger of Merck and Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation; the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully; disruption from the merger making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for innovative products; the risk of new and changing regulation and health policies in the U.S. and internationally and the exposure to litigation and/or regulatory actions.

Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck’s 2009 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).



CONTACT:

Merck & Co., Inc.
Media:
Ron Rogers, 908-423-6449
or
Investors:
Alex Kelly, 908-423-5185

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Louisiana  New Jersey

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  Biotechnology  Pharmaceutical  Other Health  Professional Services  Legal

MEDIA:

Logo
 Logo

Suggested Articles

The NIH is starting with Eli Lilly and AbCellera's COVID-19 antibody but could add more prospects as the trial goes on.

The series B positions ex-AveXis executives to build a biotech with a broad gene therapy pipeline and infrastructure to match.

A variant of the ACE2 receptor could work as a COVID-19 therapeutic by drawing the virus away from healthy cells, scientists reported.