- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court said Tuesday that investors who lost millions when Merck & Co. pulled its blockbuster drug Vioxx off the market can go ahead with a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical giant.

The high court agreed with a federal appeals court’s decision to allow a class-action securities lawsuit. The lawsuit was over whether the drugmaker provided adequate information about the risks of its former blockbuster painkiller Vioxx before it was pulled from the market.

Investors lost tens of billions of dollars in shareholder value overnight after Merck withdrew Vioxx.

The Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based company pulled the drug on Sept. 30, 2004, because it doubled the risks of heart attack, stroke and death.

Investors have two years to sue a company accused of defrauding investors. Merck argued that the two-year clock began when the first hint of Vioxx trouble was made public in September 2001. Investors argued that the two-year time limit should not have been started in 2001.

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