Log in
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
Dynamic quotes 

4-Traders Homepage  >  Equities  >  Nyse  >  Merck and Company    MRK

News SummaryMost relevantAll newsSector newsTweets

Merck & Co., Inc. : Lawsuit Claims Merck Overstated Mumps Vaccine Effectiveness

share with twitter share with LinkedIn share with facebook
share via e-mail
06/22/2012 | 07:32pm CEST
   By Jon Kamp 

Two former Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) employees have sued the company in federal court alleging Merck overstated the effectiveness of a mumps vaccine for which the U.S. government paid hundreds of millions of dollars.

Merck--which stressed that none of these allegations relate to the safety of its product--said the lawsuit is "completely without merit", and that it plans to "vigorously defend itself." The Whitehouse Station, N.J., drug maker also noted that the U.S. Department of Justice has thus far declined to participate in the case after its own two-year probe.

Mumps is a contagious disease that causes symptoms like fever, headache and swollen salivary glands. It was a common illness for kids and young adults before childhood vaccinations became common decades ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although there were outbreaks in 2006 and 2009. The agency says vaccines are the best way to prevent mumps.

Merck introduced the first vaccine 45 years ago, and since the 1970s it's been part of a combination product that also immunizes children against rubella and measles. According to the lawsuit--filed by former Merck virologists Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski--the company allegedly defrauded the U.S. for more than a decade by hiding the fact the vaccine had become less effective.

As a result, the former employees say the government has long paid for a product that doesn't live up to Merck's claims. The lawsuit seeks a judgment against Merck equal to three times the damages suffered by the U.S., plus the maximum allowable award for the former employees under federal whistleblower laws.

The suit was first filed in 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. It was unsealed Thursday after the government declined to get involved in the case.

Merck confirmed Krahling and Wlochowski were former employees, but it said they haven't worked at the company for a decade.

"It's important to understand that none of the allegations in the complaint relate to the safety of M-M-R II"--the vaccine in question--"and we remain confident that M-M-R II helps protect against measles, mumps and rubella as described in the labeling for the vaccine," Merck said in a statement.

"M-M-R II continues to be recommended for routine administration to children by public health authorities around the world, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration," the company said.

Merck doesn't specifically break out sales for the vaccine, but the company reported combined U.S. sales of $1.1 billion last year for that product and two other childhood vaccines. Merck shares recently traded up 1.9% to $40.19 and have risen 6.6% this year.

Write to Jon Kamp at jon.kamp@dowjones.com

share with twitter share with LinkedIn share with facebook
share via e-mail
Latest news on MERCK AND COMPANY
05:30pDJSamsung Releases Arthritis Drug in First Foray Into U.S. Pharmaceuticals
03:16pDJCorrection to Samsung Drug Story
02:37pDJSamsung Releases Lower-Cost Alternative to Johnson & Johnson's Drug Remicade
02:02p MERCK : Announces U.S. Launch of RENFLEXIS™ (infliximab-abda), a Biosimila..
01:01p MERCK : Announces Week 96 Results from ONCEMRK, A Study Evaluating Once-Daily IS..
07/21 MERCK AND : European Medicines Agency’s CHMP Recommends Approval for Merck..
07/21 Merck, Pfizer Collaborate With Corning
07/20 MERCK AND : Pfizer Collaborate with Corning to Modernize Pharmaceutical Glass Pa..
07/20 Merck and Pfizer Collaborate with Corning to Modernize Pharmaceutical Glass ..
07/20 MERCK : Announces U.S. FDA Grants Tentative Approval for LUSDUNA™ Nexvue&t..
More news
News from SeekingAlpha
12:11p MERCK : A Slow Growth Income Play With Moderate Growth Potential
10:52a BIOTECH FORUM DAILY DIGEST : Dynavax Technologies' Moment Of Truth Arrives
09:04a Merck launches RENFLEXIS, a biosimilar of Remicade in U.S.
07:42a Merck's once-daily HIV med Isentress HD on par with twice-daily formulation
06:00a CORNING : Flying High Into Earnings (With An Acquisition And More)
Financials ($)
Sales 2017 40 070 M
EBIT 2017 13 715 M
Net income 2017 7 101 M
Debt 2017 3 365 M
Yield 2017 3,00%
P/E ratio 2017 23,30
P/E ratio 2018 18,14
EV / Sales 2017 4,36x
EV / Sales 2018 4,21x
Capitalization 171 303 M
Duration : Period :
Merck and Company Technical Analysis Chart | MRK | US58933Y1055 | 4-Traders
Technical analysis trends MERCK AND COMPANY
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 22
Average target price 69,7 $
Spread / Average Target 11%
EPS Revisions
Kenneth C. Frazier Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
Robert M. Davis Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President
Clark Golestani Chief Information Officer & Executive VP
Thomas Henry Glocer Independent Director
Rochelle B. Lazarus Independent Director
Sector and Competitors
1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
JOHNSON & JOHNSON17.45%364 503
ROCHE HOLDING LTD.4.90%221 492
NOVARTIS8.37%220 936
PFIZER3.08%199 378
SANOFI6.01%119 827