MONTREAL, May 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. has learned that
the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench has decided to expand the scope of
previously certified class proceedings in a VIOXX lawsuit from a class
primarily consisting of Saskatchewan residents to a class of Canadian
residents outside Quebec who purchased or ingested VIOXX.
The Company intends to seek appellate review of the decision because it
believes that each plaintiff's case should be tried separately.
"Our legal approach remains the same," said Maurice Laprairie, of
MacPherson, Leslie & Tyerman LLP, Saskatchewan counsel for Merck Frosst and
Merck & Co., Inc. "Although we argued against the creation, and later
expansion, of a class, the Court's decision still requires that each plaintiff
must prove his or her claims on an individual basis because each plaintiff's
case is unique and depends on an individual set of facts. For example, heart
attacks are unfortunately common in the population and caused by many
different risk factors."
"The Company intends to defend these cases vigorously over the coming
years, and we are confident that the courts will decide these cases based on
sound science," said Mary M. Thomson, of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP,
Canadian national counsel for Merck Frosst and Merck & Co., Inc. "We are
seeking prompt appellate resolution of the Saskatchewan ruling and will
continue to argue that centralized judicial management of individual cases,
not a class action, is the preferable procedure for trying each case in a fair
and expeditious manner."
Evidence shows that Merck acted responsibly - from researching VIOXX
prior to approval in clinical trials involving almost 10,000 patients - to
monitoring the medicine while it was on the market - to voluntarily
withdrawing the medicine in September 2004..
On Nov. 9, 2007, Merck & Co., Inc entered into a resolution agreement
concerning individual product liability VIOXX claims against the Company in
the United States. That agreement does not admit fault or causation and does
not apply to Canada, or other countries outside the U.S. VIOXX lawsuits
outside the U.S. are in various stages of the legal process in different
countries with different rules and judicial processes.
About Merck Frosst Canada Ltd.
At Merck Frosst, patients come first. Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. is a
research-driven pharmaceutical company. Merck Frosst discovers, develops and
markets a broad range of innovative medicines to improve human health. The
Merck Frosst Centre for Therapeutic Research, one of the largest biomedical
research facilities in Canada, has the mandate to discover new therapies for
the treatment of respiratory diseases, inflammatory diseases, diabetes and
osteoporosis. More information about Merck Frosst is available at
This statement contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is
defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These
statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks
and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set
forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements may include statements
regarding product development, product potential or financial performance. No
forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ
materially from those projected. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly
update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information,
future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release
should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's
business, particularly those mentioned in the risk factors and cautionary
statements in Item 1A of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2007,
and in its periodic reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, which the Company
incorporates by reference.
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For further information: Media Contacts: Evan Zelikovitz, (613)
862-0302; Kent Jarrell, (202) 230-1833; Investor Contact: Graeme Bell, (908)