Merck won two more Vioxx cases in three days. Last Wednesday it got a victory in another federal case and then on Friday, it picked up a win in an Alabama trial. The drug company says it is now 9 and 4. The stock closed up 40 cents on the news. And before Christmas there could be another Vioxx verdict.
The pace will continue to pick up in the new year. Four cases will be tried all together in Atlantic City, New Jersey, starting on January 16th, as the judge there tries to move things along. Merck does not like the cases being lumped together, saying every case is different and it's confusing to a jury.
And for the third time, Merck will be facing its nemesis in the 4-in-1 case -- the Texas plaintiffs' lawyer, Mark Lanier. Last week, Merck said as of November 30th, it faces more than 27,000 Vioxx suits. So far, Merck has not set aside any money to pay damages. But it has earmarked or spent more than a billion dollars on legal fees to date.
Now that the holidays are around the corner and all of the company analyst meetings are finally over, things should begin to quiet down on the beat for the rest of the year. Although there could still be some data on drugs coming out here and there from big pharma and biotechs.
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