NEW YORK, May 7, 2008 (Lawfuel) — Labaton Sucharow LLP filed a
class action lawsuit on May 5, 2008 in the United States District Court
for the District of New Jersey, on behalf of purchasers of the
securities of Merck & Co., Inc. (“Merck” or the “Company”) (NYSE:MRK)
between July 24, 2006 and March 28, 2008, inclusive (the “Class
Period”). This action expands the class period in the previously filed
Merck action. The complaint names Merck and Richard T. Clark as
defendants (collectively, “Defendants”).
The judge presiding over the action in New Jersey is the Honorable
Dennis M. Cavanaugh, who is also presiding over a related securities
class action against Schering-Plough Corp. (“Schering”) that arises
from facts similar to the Merck action.
If you are a member of this class you can obtain a copy of the
complaint from the Court (the civil action number is 08-cv-2177) or
view a copy of the complaint at
The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, Defendants violated
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by issuing materially false and
misleading statements about the results of a study that showed that
Vytorin, an expensive cholesterol drug, offered no benefits over
generic drugs selling for a fraction of Vytorin’s price, which had the
effect of artificially inflating the market price of Merck’s
More specifically, the complaint alleges, inter alia, that Defendants
failed to release the results of a study of Vytorin for nearly two
years because they knew the results were unfavorable, and only after
articles questioned the unusually long delay and U.S. Congressmen wrote
to Merck questioning whether the delay was legitimate. Vytorin is a
cholesterol-lowering medication that is a combination of two other
drugs, Zetia and Zocor, and is co-marketed by Merck and Schering. The
clinical trial (called “ENHANCE”) was conducted to test whether Vytorin
was more effective than much cheaper “statin” drugs in preventing
progression of atherosclerosis (plaque buildup) in the carotid artery,
a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. The study was
designed to test the effectiveness of Vytorin against simvastatin, the
generic form of Zocor.
On Sunday, March 30, 2008, the full negative ENHANCE trial results were
finally disclosed to the market. The results were negative, and showed
that Vytorin was not more effective than much cheaper generic drugs in
slowing the progression of atherosclerosis. The New England Journal of
Medicine took the unusual step of printing two editorials which
recommended doctors only turn to Zetia and Vytorin after they had
exhausted all other options. Additionally, a panel of experts issued a
unanimous statement calling on cardiologists to rein in the use of
Zetia and Vytorin, and urged doctors to turn back to statins.
In reaction to the release of the full study results on Sunday, March
30, 2008, Merck’s stock price fell from $44.51 on March 28, 2008 to a
close on March 31, 2008 (the next trading day) of $37.95 on extremely
heavy volume, a one-day decline of approximately 15%.
The complaint alleges that the unusually long delay in the release of
the study results was undertaken to avoid releasing bad results that
would harm sales of Vytorin, which were touted during the Class Period.
Plaintiff is represented by the law firm Labaton Sucharow LLP. Labaton
Sucharow is one of the country’s premier national law firms that
represent individual and institutional investors in class action,
complex securities and corporate governance litigation. The firm has
been a champion of investor rights for over 40 years and has been
recognized for its reputation for excellence by the courts.
If you bought Merck securities between July 24, 2006 and March 28,
2008, inclusive, you may move to serve as Lead Plaintiff. Lead
Plaintiff motion papers must be filed with the United States District
Court for the District of New Jersey no later than June 3, 2008. A lead
plaintiff is a court-appointed representative for absent class members.
You do not need to seek appointment as lead plaintiff to share in any
class recovery in this action. If you are a class member and there is a
recovery for the class, you can share in that recovery as an absent
class member. You may retain counsel of your choice to represent you in
If you would like to consider serving as lead plaintiff or have any
questions about the lawsuit, you may contact one of our representatives
or Andrei V. Rado, Esq. of Labaton Sucharow, at 800-321-0476.