Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) to Pay $688 Million to Settle Enhance Lawsuits
2/14/2013 7:27:52 AM
Merck & Co (MRK.N) on Thursday said it has agreed to pay $688 million to settle two U.S. investor lawsuits over disclosures of the results of a clinical trial involving the anti-cholesterol drug Vytorin. The lawsuits alleged that Merck and Schering-Plough Corp knew far in advance that the trial was a failure, but withheld that information from investors. The trial, known as Enhance, had sought to demonstrate that Vytorin, a combination drug marketed by the two companies, was more effective than a competing drug in combating plaque build-up on artery walls. The companies announced in January 2008 that Vytorin did not stop plaque any better than an inexpensive statin, Zocor, in high-risk patients with an inherited form of heart disease, though it did significantly reduce cholesterol levels. Investors claimed they lost money in both companies' securities after results of the clinical trial were published. Merck and Schering-Plough merged in November 2009.