released a rather friendly report Wednesday from lawyers the company paid to investigate its handling of data on the side effects of its arthritis drug Vioxx. The report concluded that the company didn't intend to mislead patients about the risks of using the drug. Merck took Vioxx off the market following clinical data that showed an increase in the risk of heart problems after the drug was taken for 18 months.
John S. Martin of Debevoise & Plimpton said in a statement that Merck paid more than $21 million for the 20-month review. "Our investigation did find instances of poor judgment and errors, but it is important to note that they were not made with intent to deceive," he said.
Merck faces more than 14,000 Vioxx-related lawsuits brought by users of the pain reliever, and state and federal investigations are being conducted on the company's handling of its knowledge of the drug's side effects. Shares were 0.9% lower at $41.03.
sank 3.6% to $16.65 following a report in
The Wall Street Journal
that the company admitted to increased risk of blood clots in patients with certain implanted stents.
Stents are wire-mesh devices used to prop open arteries. According to an internal study, the company's stents coated with a drug intended to prevent artery reclogging led to an increased risk of clotting when compared with stents that were not coated with the drug, the
shares dipped despite news that its drug low-dose orlistat promotes weight loss and improves cholesterol and blood pressure levels in overweight and obese individuals when combined with a reduced calorie diet.
Also, according to three clinical studies of 1,729 subjects, those receiving the drug achieved greater weight loss, improved waist-to-hip ratios and a reduction in body mass index, a weight to height measure often used to diagnose obesity. Shares fell 1.4% to $54.86.
shares were climbing after the company received Food and Drug Administration approval of a new defibrillator for use in hospitals.
"Launch of this new hospital product in 2007 will mark the culmination of Zoll's most aggressive product-line expansion since 1998," said Richard Packer, the company's president and CEO. Shares jumped 2.7% to $37.22.
was up following an announcement that it launched a prefilled autoinjector for patients with anemia associated with chemotherapy and chronic kidney disease.
"The added safety features of the SureClick autoinjector minimize potential needlestick injuries, offering dependable benefits for nurses, oncologists and nephrologists who administer Aranesp in clinics and hospitals," said Dr. Willard Dere, Amgen's chief medical officer. Shares added 10 cents to $68.59.
Also moving were
, lifting 1% to $22.85,
, up 3.7% to $5.27,
, gaining 8.9% to $2.83, and
Advanced Life Sciences
, up 4.9% to $2.99.
was down 3.4% to $53.27,
was off 1.3% to $15.71,
was down 6.5% to $5.37, and
was 5.4% lower at $4.04.