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Biopharmaceuticals Litigation

 News Release - August 17, 2006

Merck Disagrees with New Jersey State Judge's Decision to Set Aside 2005 Defense Verdict in Humeston v. Merck, Company is Considering Legal Options

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Aug. 17, 2006--Merck & Co., Inc. today said it disagrees with a New Jersey state judge's decision setting aside a November 2005 jury verdict in Humeston v. Merck. In that verdict, the jury rejected a claim by an Idaho resident that VIOXX caused his heart attack. The judge has ordered a new trial early next year on the basis of post-trial evidence in the form of a New England Journal of Medicine editorial. Merck is considering its legal options.

"We have a significant disagreement with the court's decision because the evidence presented to the jury during the course of a seven-week trial in 2005 showed that Merck behaved appropriately with respect to VIOXX and also that VIOXX was in no way related to Mr. Humeston's heart attack," said Ted Mayer of Hughes HubBard & Reed, a member of Merck's national defense team. "We have also previously said we disagree with the New England Journal of Medicine's Expression of Concern. More importantly to the Humeston case, the facts underlying the Expression of Concern were known to the plaintiff long before the trial, and the jury was aware of the issue because it was presented by the plaintiff's expert. The jury did not find the testimony persuasive in the original trial and we do not believe that the Expression of Concern would have in any way affected the outcome."

The plaintiff in the case is Frederick Humeston, a U.S. Postal Service employee, from Boise, Idaho, who alleged that he suffered a heart attack on September 18, 2001, at the age of 56, as a result of intermittent use of VIOXX over a two month period. Mr. Humeston was hospitalized for two days following his heart attack, returned to work approximately two weeks later, and, according to his wife's testimony, was not placed under any restrictions by his doctors.

About Merck

Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck currently discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs. The Company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service. For more information, visit www.merck.com.

Forward-Looking Statement

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements may include statements regarding product development, product potential or financial performance. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's business, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements in Item 1 of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2005, and in its periodic reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, which the Company incorporates by reference.


Source: Merck

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