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In Dramatic Reversal, Merck Agrees To Pay $4.85B To Settle Vioxx Lawsuits

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Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) today announced it has agreed to pay nearly 5 billion dollars to those harmed by their pain killer, Vioxx. Merck for nearly three years has been saying they will try every case one at a time, so today’s announcement is a total reversal of their litigation strategy. The settlement is complicated and all of terms can be found at the official settlement website. The stock rose on the news of the settlement, even though the Dow, of which Merck is a component, was down over 200 points. Attorneys for clients harmed or killed by Vioxx are now reviewing the details of the settlement to see if is fair for their clients. This is not a class action settlement, but all claims will be evaluated individually according to the terms of the settlement. In order to take effect, 85% of the plaintiffs will need to agree to it. The settlement only affects legal United States residents and does not affect the lawsuits filed by various state attorney generals or other class actions. Michael A. Ferrara, Jr., one of the attorneys in the New Jersey litigation said: “It is about time that Merck accepted corporate responsibility for the harms that they caused”.

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