New Jersey High Court Denies Nationwide Class-Action Status to Insurance Companies Seeking VIOXXÂ® Reimbursements
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., Sept.Â 6, 2007 - Merck & Co., Inc. is pleased that the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling that granted nationwide class-action status to insurance companies and HMOs seeking reimbursement for VIOXX expenditures.Â Merck had opposed class-action status in the case.
The Court agreed with Merck that the case was not an appropriate one to be handled as a class action because the claims of the insurance companies and HMOs involved different facts.
"The Supreme Court recognized that a class action was improper because each insurance company and HMO considered different types of information in deciding whether to reimburse patients for VIOXX, and they all went through varied processes with different experts in making those decisions," said Ted Mayer of Hughes Hubbard & Reed, outside counsel for Merck.
John Beisner of O'Melveny & Myers argued the case on behalf of Merck.Â The case is International Union of Operating Engineers Local 68 Welfare Fund v. Merck.
Status of Litigation
As of June 30, 2007, the claims of more than 4,620 plaintiff groups have been dismissed before being scheduled for trial.Â Of these, there have been more than 1,170 plaintiff groups whose claims were dismissed with prejudice either by plaintiffs themselves or by the courts, meaning they cannot be filed again.Â More than 3,450 additional plaintiff groups have had their claims dismissed without prejudice, meaning they can be filed again.
Juries have decided in favor of Merck 10 times and in plaintiffs' favor five times.Â There have been two unresolved mistrials and a federal judge recently set aside one of Merck's 10 verdicts.Â Merck is pursuing its options for post-trial relief and appellate review with respect to each of the plaintiffs' verdicts.
For information regarding additional cases scheduled for trial in 2007 visit http://www.merck.com/newsroom/vioxx.
Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first.Â Established in 1891, Merck currently discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs.Â The Company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them.Â Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service.Â For more information, visit http://www.merck.com.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.Â These statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements.Â The forward-looking statements may include statements regarding product development, product potential or financial performance.Â No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected.Â Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.Â Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's business, particularly those mentioned in the risk factors and cautionary statements in Item 1A of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2006, and in its periodic reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, which the Company incorporates by reference.Â