"Under the agreement, there will be an orderly, documented and objective process to examine individual claims to determine qualification."
Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada,
announced today that it has entered into an agreement to resolve all
claims related to Vioxx® in Canada. The agreement was signed by Merck
and plaintiffs' representatives and is pending approval by courts in
"This agreement is structured to provide certainty and finality toward
resolving Vioxx cases in Canada for a fixed amount," said Bruce N.
Kuhlik, executive vice president and general counsel of Merck. "Under
the agreement, there will be an orderly, documented and objective
process to examine individual claims to determine qualification."
If the agreement is approved and specified conditions are met, Merck
will pay a total amount of at least C$21,806,250 but not more than
C$36,881,250. This would resolve all Vioxx certified class actions,
putative class actions, other litigation and claims related to Vioxx in
The amount to be funded for Vioxx users in Canada will be between
C$11,306,250 and $26,381,250 and will be determined by the final number
of eligible claimants. Claims for myocardial infarction and sudden
cardiac death will be evaluated on an individual basis by an independent
administrator based on objective criteria related to various factors,
including duration of Vioxx use, age and presence of risk factors.
Individual awards for ischemic stroke claims will be a uniform amount
not to exceed C$5,000.
The resolution also includes fixed costs of C$6,000,000 for class
counsel fees, C$3,500,000 for Canadian provinces and territories and
C$1,000,000 for administrative expenses involved in the implementation
of the resolution. Should administrative expenses or approved fees
exceed these amounts, any excess will be paid from the amount to be
funded for eligible Vioxx users.
Merck's decision to resolve this litigation is based upon the specifics
of the Canadian lawsuits and the Canadian legal system. This resolution
only applies to litigation in Canada and has no impact on pending
litigation in any other country.
Merck continues to believe that the evidence shows the company acted
responsibly with Vioxx, from the careful study in clinical trials
involving about 10,000 patients before its approval by regulatory
authorities around the world, through the careful safety monitoring
while Vioxx was on the market, right up through the decision to
voluntarily withdraw the medicine in September 2004.
This agreement in Canada does not include any statement to the contrary
and does not constitute any admission of liability.
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. For
more information, visit www.merck.com
and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
This statement 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; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation
and health care legislation; 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 United States 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 2010 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's other
filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at
the SEC's Internet site (www.sec.gov).