The U.S.Supreme Court yesterday agreed to consider Merck & Co.’s challenge to a shareholder lawsuit, where investors alleged that the company misled them regarding the safety of the anti pain drug Vioxx.
Way back in September 2004, Merck announced about the recall of it’s anti-inflammatory arthritis drug, Vioxx, because the Cox-2 inhibitor drug’s increased the risk of heart attack and stroke.
According to the lawyers of Merck, this shareholder suit was filed outside the two-year statute of limitations and should not be permitted to go forward.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit reversed a trial judge’s dismissal of the suit last year. U.S.
District Judge Stanley Chesler of New Jersey had ruled that the investors had ample notice of alleged fraud involving Vioxx—through, among other things, scientific and press reports—and could have pursued a claim within a two-year window.
Chesler said there was sufficient public notice prior to 2001 and that the shareholder suit should be time-barred.