Merck to pay $688 million to settle securities class action

Posted on: February 19th, 2013 by Steve Larson

Stocks and sharesMerck and Co. Inc. will pay $688 million to settle two securities class action lawsuits filed in New Jersey federal court alleging that the drug maker and others failed to disclose adverse results of a clinical trial for two cholesterol drugs Merck was developing, according to a Merck press release issued February 14 (In Re: Merck & Co., Vytorin/Zetia Securities Litigation, No. 2:08-CV-2177, D. N.J.; See September 2009, Page 28; In Re: Schering-Plough Corp./ENHANCE Securities Litigation, 08-397, D. N.J.; See July 2010, Page 43). 

Under the terms of the settlements, which are subject to court approval in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Merck will pay $215 million to resolve federal securities law claims against Merck and certain of its current and former officers and directors and another $473 million to settle claims against Merck subsidiary Schering-Plough Corp. and certain of its current and former officers and directors stemming from both sets of defendants’ alleged failure to disclose the adverse results of the ENHANCE (Ezetimibe and Simvastatin in Hypercholesterolemia Enhances Atherosclerosis Regression) clinical trial for Vytorin and Zetia.

According to the press release, “[t]he plaintiffs are investors who purchased certain securities issued by Merck and Schering-Plough between December 2006 and March 2008 and claim that they lost money when the results of the ENHANCE trial were published in early 2008.”