Today, the Federal Court in Australia dismissed all claims against Merck & Co., Inc. specifically finding that Merck was not negligent in its development, scientific study and sale of Vioxx.
The Court dismissed all claims against Merck & Co., Inc. specifically finding that Merck was not negligent in its development, scientific study and sale of Vioxx. Merck and MSD Australia disagree with the limited portions of the Court’s findings that were against MSD Australia and intend to appeal them.
This earnings preview is from Zacks Investment Research, according to IStockAnalyst.com: Merck is scheduled to report its fourth and 2009 results on Feb 16. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter and full year is pegged at a profit of 78 cents and $3.27 per share, respectively. Earnings estimates for the fourth quarter and 2009 have moved down over the past 30 days as 4 out of the 14 analysts lowered their estimates. In contrast, only 2 analysts raised their expectations.
For 2010, the current Zacks Consensus Estimate is $3.46 per share, representing an approximate growth of 5.8%. However, we witness a clear negative trend with respect to estimate revisions for 2010. Seven of the 17 analysts covering the stock have reduced their estimates over the past 30 days while only 1 analyst revised upward. We believe the loss of patent exclusivity of two of Merck's key drugs has prompted the analysts to lower estimates.
Reuters reported that Merck has agreed to make corporate governance changes and create internal committees to address potential safety issues with its products under a proposed settlement of shareholders lawsuits related to its withdrawn Vioxx painkiller. Merck also agreed to amend its code of conduct and pay as much as $12.2 million in legal fees as part of the settlement, which resolves all derivative litigation against Merck over Vioxx. Many terms of the settlement, such as filling the position of chief medical officer and registering clinical trials with the government, have already been accomplished or are in the process of being completed, a Merck spokesman said.
The Superior Court of New Jersey approved the derivative lawsuit settlement on a preliminary basis on February 8, 2010. A hearing to determine whether the settlement should win final approval has been scheduled for March 22, in New Jersey Superior Court in Atlantic City.
Merck recently informed its partner Arena Pharmaceuticals that it was pulling out of a collaboration agreement pertaining to the development of an atherosclerosis drug.
The decision by Merck to discontinue the development of the candidate, MK-1903, a niacin receptor agonist for treating atherosclerosis, followed disappointing results from a recently completed mid-stage study.
Merck & Co.'s (MRK) third-quarter profit more than tripled on a gain from the sale of the drug maker's stake in an animal-health joint venture, while a continued rebound in a blockbuster asthma drug helped overall sales inch higher.
For the three months ended Sept. 30, Merck reported net income of $3.4 billion, or $1.61 a share, up from $1.09 billion, or 51 cents a share, a year earlier. The latest quarter included a gain of $1.7 billion from Merck's sale of its 50% interest in the Merial animal-health joint venture to Sanofi-Aventis SA (SNY), which already owned the other half.
Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved GARDASIL® [Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16, and 18) Vaccine, Recombinant] for use in boys and men 9 through 26 years of age for the prevention of genital warts caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6 and 11.
FDA approval is the first step in an important two-step process. The next step in the process is an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices vote on whether to recommend administration of GARDASIL for use in males.
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