Analyst Les Funtleyder, a health care strategist at private equity fund Poliwogg, said the settlement news "will get lost in concern over" Merck saying recently that it will delay for about a year plans to apply for approval of a crucial new osteoporosis drug, odanacatib, while it waits for additional study results.
The settlement comes less than three weeks before the case was to come to trial. It had been scheduled to begin on March 4, before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh in Newark, who must approve the settlement.
Last February Merck settled another lawsuit over delay of the ENHANCE study results by agreeing to more promptly report research results to investors and patients. The company's research division must give an annual report to the board of directors on any delays over a year in publicly disclosing results of patient studies. Merck also agreed to pay about $5 million to cover expenses of the retirement plan that brought the lawsuit.
Linda A. Johnson can be followed at http://twitter.com/LindaJ_onPharma
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