On Thursday, Merck (NYSE:MRK) announced that it has concluded settlements to shareholder lawsuits resulting from disclosures about Vytorin, its cholesterol medication.
The pharmaceutical maker will pay $473 million to settle a suit filed against Schering-Plough, its Vytorin marketing partner, and $215 million to resolve a separate class action lawsuit. The company will take a $493 million charge over the settlements, which total $688 million. The charge represents about 7.4% of its 2012 profits, the New York Times noted.
Merck and its partners were sued after investors discovered that the company had withheld the results of a clinical trial of Vytorin that revealed that the drug did not outperform other medications in preventing the accumulation of arterial plaque. When the results of the trial were released, almost two years after they were conducted, Merck’s shares tumbled, causing shareholder losses.
Merck denied any wrongdoing in the settlement. Vytorin generated $1.8 billion in sales last year. It remains one of Merck’s top-selling drugs. Merck merged with Schering-Plough in 2009.
Earlier this month, Merck shares dropped after the company announced that it would not seek Food and Drug Administration approval for its osteoporosis drug odanacatib until 2014.
Shares of Merck rose fractionally in Friday trading.