The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Merck and Company shareholders can sue the drug maker for losses suffered when it pulled the painkiller Vioxx off the market in 2004. It was pulled after studies found that it increased the risk of death from strokes and heart attacks. Lawyers representing the investors said the company withheld information or provided misleading information about Vioxx risks, but company lawyers said investors waited too long to sue, and information published as early as 2001 should have alerted them to potential problems. The high court agreed with a federal appeals court ruling that allowed a class-action securities lawsuit. Investors lost billions of dollars in stock value when Merck stopped selling Vioxx.
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