Merck & Co. must appoint two new independent committees and a chief medical officer to monitor safety of its medicines and drugs in development.
Those are the terms of a proposed settlement to end long-running shareholder suits brought over the company's former painkiller Vioxx.
The one-time blockbuster drug was pulled from the market in 2004 because it doubled risk of heart attacks and strokes. Thousands of lawsuits later brought by patients, their survivors and others alleged Merck officials knew about those risks and hid them.
The settlement, announced late Tuesday, would end numerous lawsuits brought by Merck stockholders against the company and dozens of current and former Merck executives and board members. A judge still must approve it.
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