Merck resolves Vytorin case for $688m

Merck & Co has agreed to pay $688 million (£445 million) to settle claims that it failed to report clinical trial data relating to cholesterol brands Zocor (simvastatin) and Vytorin (ezetimibe, simvastatin).

The case against the company was brought by a group of disgruntled investors, who claim Merck unfairly withheld negative information about the brands for a year.

In March 2008, Merck and Schering-Plough – which later merged under the Merck banner – published results of a key Vytorin trial that showed the drug did not work as well as expected. In the immediate aftermath, the share prices for the two dropped sharply. But the investors claim that the two companies knew that the trial was a flop at least a year before that.

The company will now pay $215 million to resolve the case against Merck and $473 million to resolve the case against Schering-Plough. However, it made no admission of wrongdoing and says that both companies acted responsibly in relation to the trial.

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