Saturday, July 30, 2011

Open Thread: Through August 14, 2011

Time for my annual two week August world-travelling vacation -- I'll out of country (and unwilling to pay for international roaming, on the iPhone!), and thus off the grid for almost all of it.

So -- continuing the new "self-publishing" paradigm, here is an open thread for all things and thinks Whitehouse Station, in the next two weeks:

. . . .Okay -- what's pn your mind -- related to Merck, legacy Schering-Plough or legacy Organon? Do let us know in the comments. . . .

See you in about 14 days. . . . be excellent to one another.


Anonymous said...

Enjoy your vacation but, do hurry back. I'm sure you would love this:

Merck has stumbled into one of the hidden traps of megamergers. The Department of Justice is probing the marketing of three drugs inherited from Schering-Plough, Merck disclosed to the SEC in a recent filing. The feds have issued a subpoena for information on Temodar, the brain cancer treatment, and two hepatitis C drugs, Peg-Intron and Intron-A

Anonymous said...

The Feds Subpoena Merck Over Its Marketing
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By Ed Silverman // August 8th, 2011 // 11:32 am

Merck has received a subpoena from the US Department of Justice as part of a criminal investigation into the marketing of various drugs. The feds want info about marketing and selling these drugs - Temodar, which treats brain tumors; the PegIntron hepatitis C treatment; and Intron A, which treats certain cancers - from 2004 through the present

The subpoena was disclosed this morning in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in which Merck reported results for the second fiscal quarter. The drugmaker noted the subpoena was issued in connection with an investigation criminal statutes (see page 22). During most of that five-year period, by the way, the drugs were marketed by Schering-Plough, which Merck acquired in 2009.

A Merck spokesman tells us the drugmaker is cooperating, but declined to cooperate otherwise. Last fall, Merck reserved $950 million for an impending settlement of a federal probe into its research, marketing and selling practice for the the Vioxx painkiller that was withdrawn in 2004 after links to heart attacks and strokes.

Separately, Merck also the Justice Department and US Environmental Protection Agency are pursuing civil penalties of more than $2 million for allegedly violating environmental regulations at its West Point, Pa., and Riverside, Pa., facilities. The action results from an EPA inspection of the sites in 2006.

Finally, Merck agreed to pay a $260,000 fine and sign a consent decree to resolve alleged environmental violations at its Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, facility, in connection with an EPA inspection in 2008. The allegations were related to a program to detect and repair leaks.

Anonymous said...

Today, many of Merck's union employees at West Point (and elsewhere) must decide whether to accept a maximum of about one and a third years' pay, and voluntarily retire -- or wait to see if the Merck axe gets them before "normal" retirement age, reports Ed Silverman at, via a morning roundup link.

That's a particularly tough decision, given that the top of the old Schering-Plough house (and the then-current top of the Merck house) would have gotten between two and three years' worth of payments (plus bonuses and vesting of all equity incentives) if involuntarily let go, back in the 2008 to 2009 time-frame.