U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Lower Court Decision on Merck Federal Securities Class Action

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merck announced today that it is disappointed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to affirm a lower court’s ruling on when the statute of limitations began to run in a federal securities class action against the company and certain of its officers and directors. The effect of the ruling is to return the case to federal district court in New Jersey for further proceedings.

“Merck is disappointed in today’s decision, but believes that the allegations in the complaint are unfounded and will continue to defend itself vigorously”
The original suit, brought by investors, who allege that the company made material misstatements and omissions regarding the pain medication VIOXX®, was dismissed by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in 2007, on the ground that the claims were time-barred under the statute of limitations. In 2008, however, a divided Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling. In May 2009, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Merck’s appeal.

“Merck is disappointed in today’s decision, but believes that the allegations in the complaint are unfounded and will continue to defend itself vigorously,” said Bruce Kuhlik, Merck Executive Vice President and General Counsel. “The company has already made a motion to dismiss the operative complaint on numerous other grounds, and will renew that motion in the district court.”

Kannon K. Shanmugam of Williams & Connolly LLP argued the case before the Supreme Court for Merck. The company is also represented by Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

Status of Other Litigation

Other shareholder cases relating to Vioxx, including individual securities actions and claims brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, are still pending in federal court in New Jersey. In November of 2007, Merck entered into an agreement to resolve state and federal myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke personal injury claims filed or tolled by November 9, 2007. More than 99 percent of all eligible personal injury claimants enrolled in the program and the program is proceeding as scheduled with payments expected to be completed later this year.

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.

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, due to, among other things, the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation; 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 2008 Annual Report on Form 10-K, Schering-Plough’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended September 30, 2009, the proxy statement filed by Merck on June 25, 2009 and each company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site: www.sec.gov.


Contacts
Merck
Media:
Ron Rogers, 908-423-6449
Investor:
Carol Ferguson, 908-423-4465
Joe Romanelli, 908-423-5088

 

Posted: April 2010


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