No class action, some relief as the individual cases filed continue...BD
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N: Quote, Profile , Research) said on Thursday the New Jersey Supreme Court has reversed a lower court ruling that had granted nationwide class-action status to insurers seeking reimbursement for past spending on Vioxx, the drugmaker's withdrawn arthritis treatment. Shares of Merck rose 2 percent. "The Supreme Court recognized that a class action was improper because each insurance company and HMO considered different types of information in deciding whether to reimburse patients for Vioxx, and they all went through varied processes with different experts in making those decisions," said Ted Mayer, outside counsel for Merck.
Merck faces tens of thousands of lawsuits filed by former users of Vioxx who claim to have been harmed by the drug. The insurance companies and HMOs were seeking instead to be reimbursed for their spending on the former $2.5 billion-a-year pill, which was withdrawn in 2004 after being linked to heart attacks and strokes among long-term users.