Merck Settles Vioxx Class Action Lawsuit for $830 Million

Merck & Co. Inc., has reached an agreement with plaintiffs to resolve In re Merck & Co., Inc. Securities Litigation, a multi-district class action lawsuit pending in New Jersey federal court. The settlement class consists of persons who purchased Merck securities during the period from May 21, 1999, through Oct. 29, 2004, inclusive, and who seek to recover damages under the federal securities laws for certain Merck statements regarding Vioxx (rofecoxib), a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that was withdrawn from the market in 2004 due to safety concerns. FDA approved Vioxx in May 1999.

Under the agreement, Merck will pay $830 million to resolve the settlement class members' claims, plus an additional amount for approved attorneys' fees and expenses. After available funds under certain insurance policies, Merck's cash payment for the settlement and fees will be approximately $680 million, for which the company will record a charge in the fourth quarter of 2015, which will be excluded from non-GAAP results. The agreement is subject to court approval.

The settlement does not constitute any admission by Merck or any of the individual defendants of any liability or wrongdoing. Merck still faces previously disclosed individual securities lawsuits related to Vioxx.

Source: Merck & Co.

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